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DEFRA defends UK rules for single use plastic

DEFRA has told letsrecycle.com that the UK is a “global leader in tackling plastic pollution”.

Following a recent open letter to the UK Government from a coalition including Greenpeace, Keep Britain Tidy and City to Sea, accusing the UK of falling behind the rest of Europe in tackling plastic pollution, the organisation has defended Britain’s efforts.

The open letter urged the UK Government to match the ban of items outlined in Article 5 of the EU Single-Use Directive, at the very least.

The UK Government has so far banned straws, stirrers, and cotton buds, but hasn’t yet legislated to ban plastic cutlery, plates, sticks attached to balloons, or food containers made of expanded polystyrene and products made from oxo-degradable plastics.

The open letter says that the coalition is ‘concerned that at present the government is not only failing to take the lead on tackling plastics, but is falling behind our European neighbours and devolved nations within the UK.’

However DEFRA has defended the UK’s position, telling letsrecycle.com: “We have banned both microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, and our carrier bag charge has cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets.

“Our landmark Environment Bill will give ministers the power to introduce deposit return schemes for plastic drinks containers and make companies more responsible for the packaging they produce, incentivising them to use more recyclable materials and to meet higher recycling targets.

“The Bill will also make it easier for ministers to place charges on single-use plastic items that threaten our ecosystems, and we are currently exploring options for which items to target next.”

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