British government doubles support for plastic recycling

British government doubles support for plastic recycling

March 12, 2019
Marcia González

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt doubles UK aid support for plastic recycling in poor nations

At an event hosted this week by the Coalition for Global Prosperity, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention for Plastic Waste and Plastic Oceans UK, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt revealed that the British government will double aid support for plastic recycling in developing countries and called for solutions to clearing plastic waste from the world’s oceans and rivers.

She confirmed that the Department for International Development (DFID) will increase its UK aid support for pilot schemes to improve plastic recycling in some of the world’s poorest countries, from £3 million to £6 million.

Mordaunt was joined by Sir David Attenborough and MPs in Parliament on Commonwealth Day, where she spoke about the duty we have to our planet, to future generations and to the world’s poorest to “sort out” plastic waste. She made “crystal clear” that the UK’s aid budget will continue to be used to confront plastic pollution and that she wants to hear from scientists, tech entrepreneurs and business leaders for ideas and solutions to clean-up plastic waste already in our oceans.

“Cleaning up our environment is a win for us all,” Mordaunt said.

The new funding will find ways of collecting and recycling more plastic waste to avoid it ending up in the oceans.

The UK aid-supported pilot projects, some of which have already begun in the Commonwealth nations of Ghana and Bangladesh, will work alongside global businesses such as Coca-Cola and Unilever, governments and waste collectors to increase the amount of plastic waste collected and reused. The aim is to connect responsible businesses with people who make a living collecting waste – often women living in poverty – to improve incomes and protect the environment.

Tough on plastic
The UK has taken somewhat of a tough stance on plastic pollution. In the past two years alone, it has already banned microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and taken 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with its 5p carrier bag charge. It is now consulting on plans to extend the charge to all retailers and double the minimum charge to 10p.

Additionally, last year, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged £66.4 million to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place. The UK is co-chairing the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance with Vanuatu.

Through the UK aid budget, DFID has also:

  • Agreed to raise the target of Tearfund’s plastics appeal from £2 million to £3 million, which means every pound raised will be doubled by the British Government through UK Aid Match. The money will set up recycling hubs across Pakistan and stop about 2,000 tonnes of plastic – equivalent to more than 150 million plastic bottles – entering the ocean each year;
  • Committed up to £10 million to assist the 19 developing countries that have signed up the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance. These countries and the UK have all made substantive commitments, such as restricting plastic bag use and banning plastic microbeads in personal care products;
  • And allocated £20 million to reduce pollution from manufacturing in Africa and South Asia through the Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution program.

“We should be proud of the leading role that Britain has played in tackling plastic pollution both at home and abroad,” Theo Clarke, chief executive of the Coalition for Global Prosperity. “I’ve seen first-hand the scale of the challenge when I visited Kissi Dump in Sierra Leone and heard from local campaigners about the challenges of how to build waste management and recycling systems in developing countries.

“I saw rubbish being burned in the street, thrown into the river or sea and heard stories about the related flooding and health problems. I was shocked to hear that globally two billion people don’t have their rubbish collected which leads to disease for people in poverty. Waste and plastic pollution is having a detrimental impact on people’s lives.

“We can all do our bit to help the environment as after all, we only have one planet and we need to look after it for future generations. Tackling plastic pollution also helps to protect wildlife and to conserve our beautiful coastlines here in the UK and around the world.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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