Christmas will bring a fresh mountain of plastic waste to the UK, charities are warning today, with more than 103,000 tonnes of plastic packaging set to be thrown out rather than recycled this year.
According to their estimates for the 2018 festive season, which are based on calculations using official government recycling figures, the UK is also set to throw out 3,600 tonnes of aluminium foil, around 106 square km of wrapping paper, and 300,000 tonnes of card-based packaging.
The 26 green groups behind the new forecasts, organised under the Wildlife and Countryside Link, are calling for supermarkets, manufacturers, and other businesses to do more to cut plastic waste over the festive season.
The charities welcomed plans released by the government earlier this week to overhaul the UK’s waste and resources system to boost reuse and recycling, but say more must be done to cut waste at its source.
Specifically, they want to see a ban on “pointless” plastic items such as plastic cutlery, and the mooted Deposit Return Scheme for the UK brought forward from its planned implementation date of 2023 to 2020.
“Our countryside and environment will ultimately pay the price for the vast amount of packaging produced over the Christmas period,” said Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England. “We need the manufacturers of these products to take full responsibility for the damage that they cause, and the government has taken welcome steps to overhaul our waste system this week. However, the best way to tackle the environmental devastation caused by waste, is by reducing the amount we produce in the first place.”