UK Government to tackle plastic waste

The UK chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced in today’s budget that the British government will look into ways to reduce plastic waste through the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items.

The move, first reported last week, came as the Treasury cited statistics saying more than a million birds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die each year from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste.

A call for evidence will begin in the new year and will take into account the findings of the consultation on drinks containers. The environment department is also seeking evidence on how to reduce the dumping of takeaway drinks containers such as coffee cups, through measures such as deposit return schemes.

The announcement comes less than a week after the release of a study by academics at the University of Newcastle which found manmade plastic fibres in the stomachs of deep sea creatures, confirming fears that plastic pollution is adversely impacting even the most remote places on the planet.