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Updated: 5 hours 4 min ago

Government Plastic Consultation: Talking Points and Advice.

Thu, 2018-05-03 11:51

Plastic is everywhere, but thankfully we have a chance to make huge progress in the fight against plastic pollution. The government has opened a consultation looking at how new laws and regulations could be used to reduce plastic waste. 

We’ve made a tool that makes it quick and easy to submit responses – we’ve written responses for you to send in your name, but if you’d like to make edits, here are some talking points to get you started: 

The responses are to questions 13-16 of the government’s consultation on single-use plastics.
Responses with insulting language will be discounted, so please be constructive!

13. What factors influence consumers’ choices related to single-use plastic items?
    – How can the government encourage the re-use of these items?

  • It is difficult to avoid plastic packaging on the high street.
  • Much plastic isn’t recyclable, the government should reduce all single-use plastics produced, and ensure they are recyclable and/or reusable
  • Government should ban unrecyclable and problem plastic like polystyrene and black plastic.
  • The government should encourage reuse in the case of coffee cups and similar items, by introducing a charge set at a level that means disposable cups are phased out in favour of reusable ones.

14. What are the barriers to consumers choosing alternatives to single-use plastic items, and how responsive would consumers be to price changes?

  • Alternatives are not commonly available, such as for fruit and vegetable produce wrapped in plastic packaging in supermarkets. That means it’s often less convenient and more expensive to avoid single use plastic in a regular shopping trip.
  • Charges on single-use plastic can work really well, but the Government should do more to target companies to dramatically reduce the amount of throwaway plastic that is produced – and put pressure on supermarkets to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging from products they sell.

15. In what way, and to what extent, do the decisions of producers and retailers influence consumer choice?

  • Supermarkets and businesses need to step up to the mark and reduce the amount of single use plastic packaging they sell products in. Regulations and taxes can play a vital role, by sending a clear signal to businesses to shift to sustainable alternatives.
  • It’s up to everyone to fix this problem, but essential we tackle it at source.
  • Government must hand companies full responsibility for single use plastic packaging, and once they do, they will innovate to find sustainable solutions.

16. In your opinion, how can the tax system or charges play a role in delivering better environmental outcomes at this stage?
   – What interventions should be implemented, and why?
   – What behavioural effect would these interventions have, both on this stage in the supply chain, and more broadly?
   – What would be the impact on consumers?
   – Are there specific items the government should be focussing on?

  • New regulations, including taxes and bans, are vital to tackle the scale of plastic pollution.
  • Government action should target the companies that make and sell plastic packaging to dramatically reduce the volume of plastic that’s made in the first place, and spur a shift to sustainable alternatives that are better for everyone.
  • Government should immediately ban non-recyclable plastic packaging, like Styrofoam, hazardous plastics like PVC and non-essential items like stirrers and sachets, and straws for those that don’t need them.  
  • Government should also listen to MPs and implement a charge on disposable coffee cups set at a level that speeds up the shift towards reusable cups.

This consultation has the potential to create new landmark laws in the fight against plastic pollution, every voice matters, so make sure yours is heard!
Submit your response here:

Thank you!

The post Government Plastic Consultation: Talking Points and Advice. appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

In Pictures: Massive deforestation linked to major consumer brands

Wed, 2018-05-02 10:30

A new investigation by Greenpeace International reveals that a palm oil supplier to Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever is destroying rainforests in Papua, Indonesia. Satellite analysis suggests that around 4,000ha of rainforest were cleared in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya concession between May 2015 and April 2017 – an area almost half the size of Paris. These photos taken in March and April 2018 show massive deforestation in PT MJR, a palm oil concession controlled by the Hayel Saeed Anam Group (HSA), including in an area zoned for protection by the Indonesian government in response to the devastating forest fires in 2015. Development is prohibited in these areas.

A Greenpeace investigation uncovers massive deforestation in the PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) palm oil concession as the Indonesian Government minister arrives in the EU to defend the palm oil industry. A hornbill flies through the trees on the river Digul in southern Papua. Destruction and plantation development in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) oil palm concession are documented in this aerial picture. Fog rises from primary forest near the river Digul in southern Papua. This image shows landcover, forest clearance and plantation development in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) oil palm concession. The pristine beauty of the primary forest near the river Digul in southern Papua is shown in this photo. A Greenpeace staff member in a helicopter points out at the deforestation and plantation development. Forest clearance and plantation development in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) oil palm concession, part of the Hayel Saeed Anam group are documented. Early morning on the river Digul in southern Papua.

The post In Pictures: Massive deforestation linked to major consumer brands appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Can we reduce plastic packaging and reduce food waste?

Mon, 2018-04-30 15:16

Plastic packaging has been in the news a lot lately. After Blue Planet II, many people have been concerned about the amount of single use plastic that is produced and subsequently thrown away. Currently a truckload of plastic enters our oceans each and every minute where it becomes a hazard for marine wildlife and it has been found in everything from seafood to drinking water to beer and sea salt.

UK supermarkets produce almost 1 million tonnes of plastic packaging each year. We think that they can dramatically reduce their plastic footprint. Many supermarkets argue that they have to use plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables to keep items fresher for longer and to keep them from being damaged during transport.

However a recent report from Friends of the Earth Europe and Zero Waste Europe concludes that an increase in plastic food packaging has not lead to a decrease in food waste. In fact, both food waste and plastic packaging have increased year on year. Although plastic packaging extends the shelf life of food, it doesn’t mean that we actually eat it before its sell by date. In fact, almost a quarter of food wasted in the UK is thrown away whilst still wrapped in its plastic packaging.

The report also says that plastic multi-packs force consumers to purchase more food than they need, which can lead to food waste – and these multi-packs create loads of food waste before they even make it to supermarket shelves! In order for fruit or veg to be packaged together, they have to pass very strict cosmetic standards. They need to be a certain size, be 100% blemish free, not oddly shaped and weigh roughly the same. Those that don’t pass the test, are discarded.

The report suggests some ways to reduce plastic packaging and food waste. Many fresh foods are wrapped in their own skin and can be safely transported and consumed without single use packaging especially if they are sourced locally. Multi-packs are unnecessary and instead all supermarkets should sell loose fruit and vegetables. Some packaging is used to label organic produce or to display its place of origin. But laser labelling is growing in popularity and has even been used by Marks and Spencers on avocados.

So it is fully possible for supermarkets to dramatically reduce their plastic footprint and fight food waste. Supermarkets need to realise that people are tired of excessive plastic packaging. Add your name to call on supermarkets to do more to end ocean plastics.

The post Can we reduce plastic packaging and reduce food waste? appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Have supermarkets just banned single-use plastic?!

Mon, 2018-04-30 13:47

No, afraid not, though you might have thought so from some of the excited media headlines earlier this week! What has been actually been announced is the launch of the UK Plastics Pact – a new initiative led by UK waste group WRAP.

Pact brings together companies, plastic manufacturers, recyclers and local and national government to share their experiences and agree targets for tackling plastic pollution. It already has an impressive list of companies signing up – including some of the biggest UK supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose. What they are pledging to do (by 2025) is:

  • Make 100% of their packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable
  • Ensure 70% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled or composted
  • Take action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through re-design, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery systems
  • Use 30% recycled content across all plastic packaging

What’s Greepeace’s analysis? Greenpeace has welcomed the formation of the PACT and the fact that companies and government are starting to face up to the ocean plastic challenge.

However when you look at the sheer scale of the problem we face – where we’re finding plastic in our water, our seafood, our salt, even in melting Arctic ice – it’s clear that business and government must go further and faster if we are to really tackle ocean plastic pollution.

Improving our recycling is an important part of reducing plastic waste – and action to improve it can and must be taken. The UK Plastics Pact provides a clear roadmap for that and we support their calls for changes in packaging design and improvements to the UK collection and recycling infrastructure. BUT recycling alone cannot fix our ocean plastic problem fast enough.

With a rubbish truck full of plastic currently entering our oceans every minute (and set to rise), plastic packaging use predicted to double by 2020 and quadruple by 2050, while globally, the level of recycling is only around 14% collected (and 5% actually recycled) we clearly need to do more. We urgently need to dramatically REDUCE the amount of plastic packaging we are using.

That’s why Greenpeace are calling on UK supermarkets to embark on a sustained drive to reduce the use of non essential plastic, to develop sustainable alternatives, and to switch to reuse wherever possible. Three key steps we will be asking them to take are to:

  1. Introduce transparency – by publishing a yearly audit of their plastic use
  2. Set targets – for reducing their plastic footprint
  3. Pledge to eliminate non-recyclable plastics and excess packaging by 2019 (clear alternatives exist to non recyclables, so this can happen far sooner than 2025)

Clearly government action to underpin these voluntary commitments is essential (and a blog on this will be coming soon!) But there’s so much that supermarkets can do. Iceland’s landmark announcement that it will eliminate single use plastic packaging from own brand by 2023 has already spurred others to act – and we are starting to see other supermarkets tentatively commit to reduction targets and start to remove things like non recyclable black plastic food trays and to trial plastic free fruit and veg aisles.

How can these reductions be made?

Firstly by cutting waste – getting rid of the #pointlessplastic – things like plastic wrapped coconuts and apples and the unnecessary plastic inside our cereal boxes.

And how about if supermarkets followed Lush’s lead and offered us solid shampoo and shower gel bars that totally eliminate the need for a plastic bottle?

There are other new (and old!) ways of getting products to us without the plastic packaging  that supermarkets should be actively exploring – such as in-store refill stations for reusable packs or Splosh’s cleaning products where you buy a plastic bottle, but when it runs out you get a tablet of concentrate and add water to top it up.

We need to be scaling up and mainstreaming these type of approaches – so we can ensure these predictions of increased single plastic use and increased ocean plastic pollution don’t come to pass.  

Almost half a million of you have called on supermarkets to be leaders and ditch throwaway plastic. They are starting to listen. Sign our petition today to show that we want supermarkets to take quick and ambitious action to reduce their plastic footprint. Let’s make sure that they fully commit to ending ocean plastic pollution!

The post Have supermarkets just banned single-use plastic?! appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

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