A Plastic Planet has called for a ban on household bins by 2030.
Writing on opinion website Comment Central, Sian Sutherland, the environmental solutions group’s co-founder, says improvements to recycling collection rates – up from 8% to 44% in the last two decades – cover up continued failure to actually recycle the waste collected.
Sutherland argues that we need a ‘waste revolution’, where people abandon bins all together in favour of a reuse model.
The call comes as polling commissioned by A Plastic Planet found that more than three-quarters (76%) of Brits would return their packaging to shops if it was easy to do so.
The survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by Yonder, also found that nearly three-quarters (74%) want governments to force industry to create products and packaging that can be reused rather than ending up in a bin.
A Plastic Planet says a reduction in plastic production, a shift to natural alternatives and circular reusable packaging systems are essential to tackle the plastic crisis.
Each person in the UK dumps an average of 560kg of ‘residual’ waste per year, with the UK producing more plastic waste per head than any country in Europe.
The amount of waste thrown away has increased tenfold over the past century, with levels set to increase again by 70% by 2050.
‘We throw waste away into one of three or more bins and never think about it again, trusting it will have a good end… But there are countless reports of UK waste that we think will be recycled actually being shipped off to faraway lands or just incinerated, all producing toxic chemicals that pollute our planet and poison our bodies.
‘The black bin bag should be seen as our symbol of shame: the embodiment of our take, make and throwaway culture.
‘I have come to a conclusion many people won’t like: it’s time to ban the bin. Government could put industry on notice that there will be no more ‘general waste’ collections at all by 2030.
‘We should only collect stuff that is actually going to be recycled in the UK – food waste and some materials, but all other non-recyclable items would have to be produced on a reuse model.’
Co-founder of A Plastic Planet
The UK government has proposed that every household doubles its number of bins from three to six, with separate glass, metal (cans and tins), plastic (bottles and trays), paper and card, food waste and garden waste.
A recent report from the National Audit Office criticised the government for ‘a lack of long-term planning to tackle waste’, casting doubt on Defra’s target to reduce the amount of waste produced per person by 50% between now and the end of 2042.