With authorities claiming that the amount of single-use plastics thrown away each year would fill London’s Royal Albert Hall a thousand times over, U.K. has launched a massive plastics crackdown.
Now, authorities have said that the crackdown is set to extend to even takeaway food containers.
Reports have pointed out that consumers could face new taxes on takeaway food packaging and containers, including throwaway coffee cups.
The government is aiming to crack down on environmentally damaging “single-use plastics,” as recent statistics have stated that across the world more than 1 million birds and 100,000 sea mammals, including turtles, die from eating or becoming tangled in plastic waste each year.
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget, set to be released on Wednesday, is due to include a consultation on how to curb consumer use of these materials through a review of taxes and charges.
This week, scientists from Newcastle University revealed that plastic particles had been found inside creatures living in the very deepest parts of the ocean, at almost 11,000 metres below the surface.
On Saturday, the Treasury said that it wanted Britain to help develop solutions to address the global problem of plastics pollution, amid concerns about a floating “continent” of these materials — the size of France — in the Pacific Ocean.
According to reports, the Treasury is set to launch a call for evidence in relation to single-use plastics in the new year.
It has said that it will take into account a concurrent consultation by the environment department on a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.
Reports also noted that this expected crackdown on single use plastics would affect bubble wrap, takeaway food boxes and throwaway coffee cups.
Experts have explained that these cups are rejected by most paper recycling facilities because they have a plastic inner lining.
Until now, discounts offered by coffee shop chains to customers bringing their own reusable cups have had very little effect.
According to Tisha Brown of Greenpeace U.K., it was inevitable that using an “almost indestructible material” like single-use plastics to make disposal products would lead to problems.
She explained, “We are starting to discover how big those problems are. Ocean plastic pollution is a global emergency, it is everywhere from the Arctic Ocean at top of the world, to the Marianas Trench at the bottom of the Pacific.”
Brown added that the Treasury announcement was “only a statement of intent.”
She said, “There is a long way to go, but hopefully this is the beginning of the end for single-use plastic.”
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