[UPDATED] £20m Funding Earmarked For Single-Use Plastic Waste Innovation

Philip Hammond is set to launch a consultation on how the tax system might be used to reduce the waste caused by single-use plastics, and will announce funding in the Treasury’s Spring statement (Tuesday 13 March) for businesses and universities to develop “new technologies” to help achieve the target of eliminating “avoidable plastic waste” by 2042.

Mr Hammond announced plans in the November Budget to use the tax system to help deliver the Government’s target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

According to reports by Sky News, the Chancellor is also set to unveil a £20m innovation fund for businesses and universities to develop new technologies to help achieve the goal.

Writing in The Sun yesterday, Mr Hammond said: “Single-use plastics waste is a scourge to our environment. From crisp packets to coffee cups, each year the UK produces millions of tonnes of waste which is neither recyclable nor biodegradable.

“We are determined to create an environment that is fit for future generations. By working with industry, innovators and the public I am confident we can bring about real change.”

“We are determined to create an environment that is fit for future generations. By working with industry, innovators and the public I am confident we can bring about real change.”

“We will be looking at a wide range of things, from new materials and more efficient recycling methods to changing set habits through taxes and charges,” he said.

The news comes after the Government rejected calls to implement a levy system for disposable coffee cups in favour of voluntary action.

In its official response to the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee report, the Government said only that a charge was “something we could consider amongst other policy options”.

The EAC also recently accused Government of “dragging its feet” on introducing a deposit return scheme for plastic drinks bottles.

[UPDATE 13 March] CIWM Says

Responding to the launch by the Chancellor today (13 March) of the Government’s consultation on single-use plastics, CIWM has said this is an important opportunity to explore how we can turn the tide on unnecessary plastic waste, but any proposals must be linked into a wider review of resources and waste policy.

“Plastics have many important functions and are part of modern life – but we have to stop using this versatile and highly durable material in single-use applications that squander a valuable resource, contribute to the pollution of our environment and our oceans, and increase the cost to society of managing our waste,” says CIWM chief executive Dr Colin Church. “There is also a wider imperative to consider measures and incentives to reduce all types of waste, and make better use of recovered materials, to benefit the UK economy and the environment.”

“Plastics have many important functions and are part of modern life – but we have to stop using this versatile and highly durable material in single-use applications that squander a valuable resource”

A day after scientists from the University of Manchester reported finding microplastics “everywhere” in rivers in north-west England, CIWM is also calling on the Government to lead the way not just on single-use plastics here at home but also on tackling the issue of marine plastics pollution at a global level.

In addition to calling for a high-level commitment to collaborative action at the Commonwealth Summit in April, CIWM says the UK should do more to help developing and middle-income nations tackle pollution and reduce plastic waste, including through the UK’s international aid programme and support for innovation.

“This is an argument that CIWM has been making at the highest levels recently, in partnership with other organisations including Tearfund, the Institute of Development Studies, and WasteAid UK (joint letter), explains Dr Church.

“Some 3 billion people across the globe do not have access to controlled waste disposal services and facilities, and research suggests that mismanaged municipal solid waste in developing countries is the major source of plastics entering the oceans. This means that there is significant scope for UK international aid to be better targeted at helping to address this crisis, as well as a role for UK expertise to help countries to develop approaches that tackle plastic waste in locally sustainable ways.”

CIWM will also be exploring the implications of the additional £80m the Chancellor has said will be made available to support businesses who take on apprentices and welcomed the commitment to delivering the right skills to embrace the new technologies of the future.

The consultation, which can be found here seeks to explore how economic incentives can be used to reduce waste from single-use plastics “by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling”, and also by driving innovation and investment in recycling. The questions cover the whole supply chain, from production and retail through to consumption and disposal.

A summary of the Chancellor’s key announcements can be found here.


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  1. AM IN. GHANA I TURN PLASTICS WASTE TO PAVING BLOCK AND NEEDED FUNDS TO EXPAND AND RECYCLE MORE WASTE AND EMPLOY MORE YOUTH. CURRENTLY WE RECYCLE ONLY 1500 KG OF PLASTICS PER DAY. WE WANT TO SCALE UP TO 10,000 KG OF PLASTICS WASTE PER DAY.

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