Michael Gove’s four-point plan to tackle UK plastic waste
A four-point plan has been announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in a bid to cut the amount of plastic used in the UK and make it simpler for people to recycle. Gove’s plan entails reducing not just the total amount of plastic in circulation, but also the different number of plastics in use in a bid to ease the burden on recycling firms.
The plan also flags up the lapsing rate of recycling, which Mr Gove hopes to reinvigorate, alongside a bid to make it easier for individuals to know what belongs in the recycling bin and what belongs in the rubbish.
If clearing up our act with regard to plastic waste sounds like a pretty foolproof plan, at least as far as Westminster’s spin doctors are concerned, there are caveats. Many environmentalists, for example, have expressed doubt that Mr Gove will be stringent enough with businesses who benefit from the use of plastics, with the general population doing the heavy lifting. The aforementioned firms, environmentalists contend, should be mucking in too.
The drive behind Gove’s plan isn’t, it seems, an inherent moral compass, but rather the emotional call-to-arms that is David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series, the BBC reveals. Mr Gove, moved by the show, in addition to China’s refusal to recycle British waste in the imminent future, launched the new initiative. Of course, the interest in Blue Planet makes it a fairly easy policy to promote, as CCHQ found:
One option that’s being mulled over is the introduction of a common recycling scheme throughout all boroughs, though some are dubious about a one-size-fits-all solution. Martin Tett of the Local Government Association voiced his scepticism to the BBC: “Common standards for recycling wouldn’t be effective,” he contended. In the meantime, Mr Gove has been liaising with drinks firms in a bid to lessen the amount of plastic bottles ending up in rivers and the sea.
The scheme’s going international, too; Mr Gove has announced he’s working with the Department for International Development (DFID) to discern how UK aid money could best be used to prevent plastic waste in developing countries. He has also stated his intention to ameliorate the UK’s network of ocean protected zones in British Overseas Territories.
This news has been welcomed by Sky which recently launched a major drive to tackle the problem of plastic waste. Jeremy Darroch, chief executive at Sky said: “If you walked into a bathroom overflowing with water, what would you do? You wouldn’t start mopping up the water, you would turn off the tap. That’s what we’re doing with plastics and why we welcome the four-point plan from Michael Gove. More businesses need to turn off their own plastic tap – now.”
Sky previously committed to gtting rid of all single-use plastics from its operations by 2020 and, by the end of this year, all new products will be made without any single-use plastic.
Clamping down on plastic waste forms just part of Mr Gove’s broader policies, such as his long-time-coming 25-year Environment Plan, which should see the light of day in the New Year. Brexit negotiations, Mr Gove disclosed, were responsible for delaying such endeavours.
Header image: Tom Page, used under Creative Commons