Eight “problematic plastics” targeted for “elimination” by the end of 2020

Promise from the UK Plastics Pact

Eight “problematic plastics” targeted for “elimination” by the end of 2020

WRAP, the resource efficiency body that oversees The UK Plastics Pact, has today (25 June) published a list of eight “problematic or unnecessary” single-use plastics that Pact members are expected to remove from shelves by the end of 2020.

The eight for “elimination” are accompanied by a second list of nineteen plastic items which are to be prioritised for action to tackle problems associated with them by 2025.

It’s aimed the outcome will be a reduction in the amount of plastic on shop shelves, a reduction in demand for virgin plastic and avoiding up to 1 tonne of Co2 per tonne that is recycled.

The eight for elimination:

Disposable plastic cutlery

All polystyrene packaging

Cotton buds with plastic stems

Plastic stirrers

Oxo-degradables that break down creating microplastics

Plastic straws

Disposable plastic plates and bowls

PVC packaging

In addition, nineteen single use plastic items and materials are to be actively investigated with UK Plastics Pact members. These include:

Plastic bags – avoidable and limited film recycling.

Plastic film packaging – crisps, fruit and vegetable film packaging.

Multi-layer non-recyclable plastics – pouches not widely recycled.

Multi-pack rings for canned drinks

Multi-veg/fruit net bags

Multi-buy bulk (secondary) wrapping

PVC cling film

Bottle tops/caps

Single-use drinks bottles

Non-recyclable coloured plastics – including carbon black plastic (WRAP is encouraging members to have this issue resolved by the end of 2019).

Fruit & veg punnets/trays

Internal plastic trays

Disposable plastic cups

Fruit/veg stickers – contaminates compost, not recycled.

Plastic cup lids (hot beverage cups)

Plastic coffee pods

Milk and salad dressing jiggers, single serving pots and sachets Tear off tamper evident strips on containers

Defining “problematic”

WRAP today has also published its definition of what is meant as “problematic” or “unnecessary” plastics, which relies on the following criteria:

Where it is avoidable, or a re-usable alternative is available.

When it cannot be recycled, or it hampers the recycling process.

When it is commonly littered and pollutes the environment.

Solving these problems will require collaboration and effort from all businesses and involve a range of actions such as considering re-fills, improved packaging design and optimising recycling, WRAP says.

A key element is also ensuring that citizens are both motivated to recycle, and are clear on what can be recycled and how to recycle it.

WRAP warns however, in seeking to overcome the problems with these plastics, any “unintended consequences” that could lead to further global warming must be avoided.

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