Air Clean Up

UK vs EU: The War on Plastic Pollution

Jan 26 2018 Read 784 Times

Whether it’s the re-emergence of David Attenborough in Blue Planet 2 or viral videos of birds and turtles being harmed by plastic waste – plastic pollution is the environmental issue of the moment. That’s why Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that Brexit Britain is going to strive to take the lead in the war on plastic pollution.

But, the EU aren’t far behind. Recently releasing their European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the EU are pipping the UK at the post with their efforts to reduce plastic pollution. Below we’ve weighed up each of their plans side by side.

2030 vs 2042

One of the main differences stemming from the UK and EU governmental plans is the time it’s going to take to win the battle over plastic pollution. The EU has set a target to recycle 65% of urban waste by 2035. The UK however, are aiming to remove avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

The seven-year gap does seem pretty substantial, with questions arising as to why one is able to work quicker than the other. But, that being said, the UK are attempting to banish all unavoidable plastic waste where as the EU are aiming for 65% recycle rate.

Microplastics: Are they in or out?

Microplastics are the main culprit in damaging the environment. With masses being dumped due to it being unrecyclable, it’s no surprise that each government are looking at clamping down on their usage.

The beginning of 2018 saw the UK ban on plastic microbeads found in toiletries such as exfoliants and toothpaste. The EU however haven’t committed to a fully-fledged ban, rather they are going to restrict the amount used and intentionally added in products.

Recycling: The solution to pollution?

One of the EU’s biggest commitments is to support higher recycling rates and improve waste collection services. They have committed to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030 –  with changes to the way products are designed and produced.

The UK touched slightly on these plans in recycling more plastics, but seemed more interested in banning the use of it all together – or at least heading in that direction. Theresa May pledged that during the 25-year environmental plan, supermarkets are to include ‘plastic-free aisles’ in their stores. This will hopefully emphasis the over use of plastic and how it isn’t a necessity.

Choose love not plastic…

These environmental steps have been a long time coming for both parties, with some even suggesting that by the time each of the environmental plans are put in place it may be too late for certain ecosystems and wildlife. Nevertheless, what is being done is a step towards a cleaner, less plastic-filled future.

Rather than comparing which country is beating plastic pollution better, praise the fact that something is actually being done about it. The focus now, however, turns to how the UK will replicate the EU’s many environmental laws and directives upon leaving the union, such as the Industrial Emissions Directive, introduced in 2012.

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