Last week George Osborne took to the despatch box in the House of Commons to deliver his eighth budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Like every business, we were keenly listening out to hear what the Chancellor would have to say about issues affecting our industry â€“ and we werenâ€™t too be disappointed.
On 5th October 2015 the government introduced the â€˜Plastic Bag Taxâ€™ â€“ a 5 pence charge for all new carrier bags distributed by retailers. Following last weekâ€™s budget the Environment Minister, Rory Stewart, agreed with a suggestion from Labour MP Rob Marris that the next target should be to increase recycling levels of coffee cups.Â
The Worldâ€™s First Fully Recyclable Cups
Every year in the UK more than 2.5 billion cups are thrown away. Very few are recycled, with the majority creating 25,000 tonnes of landfill waste. To help counter this problem, inventor Martin Myerscough has created what he believes to be the worldâ€™s first fully recyclable cup. Launched in May, the cup has been designed so as to allow the thin layer of plastic on the cup (something which is legally required under EU Health and Safety regulations) to be easily removed during the recycling process.
â€œThe way forward is to recycle. I always thought it was such a waste that disposable cups couldnâ€™t easily be recycled. In these times of limited resources and diminishing landfill space, a single-use cup that canâ€™t be recycled is an indulgence we just cannot afford. Watering down any kind of packaging recycling targets is a retrograde and very worrying step.â€ â€“ Martin Myerscough.
Watered Down Targets?
Mr Myerscoughâ€™s closing remarks come as the Government was accused of watering down recycling targets during last weekâ€™s budget. Before Mr Osborneâ€™s announcement, the UKâ€™s recycling targets included:
- An aim to recycle 57% of plastic packaging by 2017
- An aim to recycle 77% of glass by 2017.
However, following last weekâ€™s announcement this has been changed to:Â
- An aim to recycle 49% of plastic packaging during 2016, followed by an increase of 2% each year until 2020 to a maximum of 57%.
- An unchanged aim to recycle 77% of glass by 2017, with a 1% increase each year until 2020.
Campaigners, including Friends of the Earth, see this as the UK not doing its bit to improve recycling. Their Acting Campaigns Director, Mike Childs, said:
â€œNot content with boosting tax exemptions for climate-wrecking oil and gas companies, the Chancellor is further damaging the proposals of future generations by cutting back on packaging recycling targets for plastic and glass.â€