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The 25 Year Environment Plan: A Focus on Plastic Waste

We are nearly at the end of the third working week of 2018, but we’re already calling it- this is the year of the war against plastic waste.

The plastic waste issue appeared on our radar some time ago, and with clients in the Food and Retail industries, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the consumer unrest. It seems we may have reached a tipping point, with an influx of plastic waste headlines and ‘hashtag activism’.

pointless plastic social media

25 YEAR ENVIRONMENT PLAN

The 25 Year Environment Plan has launched with impeccable timing, right at the peak of media attention on the topic of plastic waste. While some have praised the plan for its ambition and alignment with existing policies and schemes, others have raised concerns over the lack of legislation and detailed commitment.

Either way, whichever side you may agree with, there were some points throughout the plan that should be highlighted:

PLASTIC WASTE

  • Despite the media frenzy, the Plan only addresses issues around plastic waste and packaging across three pages mid-way through the 151-page document. The commitment that has been making headlines is to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042.
  • Producers are being asked to take more responsibility for their packaging, to ensure easy recycling and high-quality recyclate. The Government also plans to invest more money into the development of bio-based, biodegradable and environmentally-friendly plastic through their Bioeconomy Strategy.
  • Changes at the consumption stage are also planned to come into effect including extending the 5p plastic bag charge to small retailers, a potential tax scheme for plastic containers, introducing free water bottle refill points in public areas and implementing a plastic-free aisle in supermarkets.
  • Money from the UK’s £7bn Resource & Development fund is due to be shared with businesses to encourage plastic waste innovations.

WASTE

  • Food waste remains on the agenda with an ambitious target to halve global food waste per capita by 2030. With plans to build on the success of WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment, the Government has announced their support for the redistribution of unsold edible and nutritious surplus stock from food businesses to individuals in need.
  • A new Resources and Waste strategy will be released later this year providing guidance on how a circular economy system can be implemented. With closed-loop, circular solutions to waste businesses will be able to increase resource productivity and ensure that no avoidable waste is generated.

A GREEN BUSINESS COUNCIL

  • The Plan states a Green Business Council is to be established to deliver policy advice for sector-specific environmental initiatives, natural capital and boosting green innovation. Businesses and NGOs have been calling for a Green Business Council as it offers the opportunity for a two-way exchange of solutions to address environmental challenges.
  • An International Global Resource initiative is also due to be established this year, to work with businesses, NGOs and producer countries to determine actions across supply chains to improve the sustainability of products.

A FOOD MANUFACTURER’S REACTION

Cranswick plc CEO, Adam Couch, has called on retailers, manufacturers and local authorities to make sustainability a priority:

“While we commend the Government for putting this issue on the political agenda through the new 25 Year Environmental Plan, we believe as a major UK manufacturer we have a responsibility to help drive systemic change to end global plastic pollution.

More importantly, nor do we need to wait that long (2042) to achieve our goals. Ensuring a sustainable future for our planet should be a priority for every retailer, manufacturer, local authority and individual globally – and it is our collective responsibility to ensure there is the opportunity to be able to reduce, re- use and recycle as much as is possible to minimise the impact on our environment.

We’ve been working alongside Cranswick plc to create a transformational sustainability initiative, “Second Nature,” seeking to address key issues from farm to fork. As part of this new strategy, Cranswick has joined the fight against plastics by becoming the first British food manufacturer to cut out avoidable waste by 2025.

HOW WE CAN HELP

The growing consumer scrutiny on business ethics and operations has seen the perception of sustainability profoundly change. It is both unnerving and exciting, with rewards for those who can see clearly through the disruption. To instill stakeholder trust and capitalise on the current momentum to optimise growth opportunities, start a conversation with us.

We bring together the best in industry expertise, offering a collaborative, one-point solution, helping companies do ‘more with less’ across waste, water and energy by linking people, community and the environment to accelerate the sustainability journey and build a positive social currency.

Offering a unique blend of creativity and environmental expertise, we transform environmental aspirations into real actions and results, powered by our engagement strategies to deliver an authentic brand experience.

By engaging the whole business from the ‘inside out’, we deliver unique, commercially relevant programmes for environmentally and socially ambitious companies.

We have proven we can add greater pace and focus via our distinctive ‘4D’ process which drives transformational results that are tailor-made for our clients’ business goals in a faster, more sustainable way.

Start a conversation with us here.

 

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