UK – The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) is urging the UK Government to introduce a further ban on unrecyclable plastics to curb household waste production.

The call follows The Big Plastic Count report conducted by Greenpeace and NGO Everyday Plastic, which found that UK households produce 100 billion pieces of plastic waste a year, claiming that ‘only 12 percent is recycled.

NLWA is also urging the government to immediately introduce a £50 (US$59.12) charge on single-use coffee cups

The  £50 (US$59.12) charge on single-use coffee cups suggested by the NLWA could help reduce the 2.5 billion cups disposed of each year.

According to NLWA majority of this wasted plastic is unrecyclable, the prime example being soft plastics and items such as takeaway coffee cups, which are made of composite materials.

While recyclable plastics such as milk bottles are easy to turn into new products – and if put in recycling bins across North London are 100% processed in the UK.

The waste authority notes that common items such as flexible plastic covering fruit and vegetables, crisp packets and bubble wrap are difficult to recycle, resulting in ‘extremely poor-quality materials with little value.’

Although some supermarkets offer recycling points for these products, there is minimal UK infrastructure available to match consumption.

The authority calls on the UK government to legislate on the root cause: the reckless overproduction of tricky-to-recycle plastics.

The UK has seen successful bans on plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, with the waste authority urging that this be extended to takeaway polystyrene containers, plastic cutlery and plates, and the flexible plastic covering fruit and vegetables is likely to see similar success.

The body also reiterated its call to the UK Government to implement Extended Producer Responsibility in 2023, as well as end delays to the Deposit Return Scheme.

NLWA chair, Councillor Clyde Loakes, said: “No one needs fossil-fuel-based plastic smothering broccoli or plastic nets for oranges.

“It’s vital that the UK cuts down on unnecessary waste that can’t be recycled or reused. And the best way to tackle unecological waste is not once it ends up in the bin but at the very beginning – manufacturers should not produce it at all and focus instead on sustainable alternatives.

Last August, the UK Government announced a public consultation on the proposed ban on a range of single-use plastic items.

The proposal was part of the government’s efforts to eliminate plastic waste in the country by the end of 2042.

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