UK plastic waste set to rise 20% by 2030

The UK is set to produce 20% more plastic waste in 2030 than it does this year, with the amount of discarded takeaway drink cups and lids set to rise by a third.


A report released today by the WWF to mark Earth Hour reveals that the UK will generate 6.3 million tonnes of plastic waste in 12 years, compared to 5.2 million in 2018.

It also highlights how Britain is the fifth highest consumer of single-use plastic products in the EU, and the second biggest user per person of straws, takeaway drink cups, food containers and crisp packets.

In response, the WWF is calling on the government to introduce a ‘latte levy’ charge on disposable cups, as well as a deposit return scheme for plastic drink bottles.

CEO, Tanya Steele, said: “The amount of plastic which the UK is throwing away is set to rocket by over a million tonnes by 2030 – that’s the equivalent of 87,000 more double-decker buses worth of plastic waste each year.

“We must act now, banning avoidable single-use plastic by 2025, and introducing incentives to help people and businesses make the right choices to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

The report reveals that 67% of the UK’s plastic waste derives from packaging – a far higher proportion than in the rest of the EU – reflecting a higher demand for convenience foods in the country.

It forecasts that Britain will use 41% more plastic straws by 2030, while the amount of cups and lids will rise by 33%, crisp packets 34%, and drink bottles 9%.

The WWF also predict that changing lifestyles and policies will see recycling in the UK increase from 31% of total plastic waste today, to 42% over the next 12 years.

However, the amount of recycled single-use plastic is expected to rise from 29% to just 37%, and that assumes the successful implementation of the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

“We are polluting our world with plastic, suffocating our oceans and overwhelming our wildlife,” Steele continued.

“This Earth Hour, millions of people around the UK are sending a powerful message that we must act now on climate change and pollution to save our planet.”


Image credit: Shutterstock



Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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