Audit committee launches disposable packaging enquiry

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the damage that disposable drinks packaging is doing to the environment.

Launched on 4 March 2017, the inquiry will focus on  plastic bottles and single-use coffee cups, examining the actions that are being taken by the industry and Government to reduce waste generated by coffee cups and plastic bottles, and will investigate possible solutions.

Mary Creagh MP, the Committee’s chair, said of the inquiry: "Our throwaway society has given us a tide of litter on our beaches, dead seabirds and fish, and plastic in our food. We all enjoy a take away coffee or tea, but the cups they are served in are particularly difficult to recycle because they combine plastic coating and cardboard. Our inquiry will be taking a serious look at solutions like the use of different materials, behaviour change, better recycling and bottle deposit return schemes."

The committee says that with the rate of household recycling currently at 44 per cent, the UK is falling short of the Government's target to increase the rate of plastic packaging recycling to 57 per cent by the end of 2017. Plastic bottles and coffee cups are particularly problematic, with only  half of the 35 million plastic bottles sold in Britain every day  currently collected for recycling. Around 7 million cardboard coffee cups are thrown away each day, but only 1 in 400 are recycled, leaving over 6.98m going to landfill or ending up in the environment.

The committee welcomes submissions to the inquiry on how the committee can help increase recycling and reduce the amount of  disposable packaging ending up in landfill or the environment. Specific topiscs for discussion include:

  • What is the environmental impact of waste from coffee cups and plastic bottles and what are the challenges of recycling?
  • What actions are being taken, how effective have current initiatives been, and what is the impact of leaving the EU?
  • What initiatives could be used to reduce waste or lessent the impact of coffee cups and plastic bottle waste and how can we encourage housholds to change behavious.
  • Are there examples of best practice outside of the UK that we could learn from?

 Written submissions must be received by 5pm, Wednesday 5 April 2017. Written submissions to the inquiry can be made online.

Packaging compliance

We work with companies that handle packaging, helping them to reduce their impact on the environment and ensuring they comply with current UK regulations. If your business is obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, our approved packaging compliance scheme can handle your producer responsibility obligations on your behalf, giving you peace of mind and saving you time and money.

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