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Sat, 4 April 2020

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Reducing UK emissions remains an emergency despite current crisis Member content
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By Hege Saebjornsen, Sustainability Manager

Not all plastics are created equal, says ESA

Environmental Services Association

2 min read Member content

Not all plastics are created equal and it is important that we distinguish between high-value plastics, which can be easily and readily recycled through the mature infrastructure currently in place, and single-use or low grade plastics which all-too-often leak out of the recycling system to litter the natural environment, says Jacob Hayler,  Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA).


Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler, said: 

"Not all plastics are created equal and it is important that we distinguish between high-value plastics, which can be easily and readily recycled through the mature infrastructure currently in place, and single-use or low grade plastics which all-too-often leak out of the recycling system to litter the natural environment. 

ESA members have been instrumental in helping to shape Defra’s Resources & Waste Strategy and the supporting legislation outlined in the Environment Bill, which was introduced in the Queen's Speech earlier this month. This strategy will require manufacturers to take greater responsibility for the recyclability of the packaging and products they place on the market and, properly implemented, would discourage the use of materials which cannot be easily recycled through mainstream systems. At the same time, the strategy also proposes a more consistent approach to household collections by local authorities, and mandatory product labelling - all of which will help to reduce confusion among consumers. 

We believe that the measures set out in the government’s strategy, allied with proposed taxes on virgin materials for packaging, will also help to stimulate domestic reprocessing which reduces the UK’s reliance on export markets. We urge the government and Defra to continue on this path, and to continue working with ESA members, as well as all of the other organisations involved in the circular economy, to ensure the strategy delivers on our shared ambitions to waste fewer resources; capture as much value from recycled material as possible; simplify recycling for consumers and empower them to take more sustainable choices; and to prevent waste from leaking into the natural environment.” 

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