Business leaders and politicians call for ban on non-food plastic sachets

Businesses, academics and politicians have united to call for urgent action to eliminate the use of non-food plastic sachets, warning that the world is set to consumer one trillion of them by 2030.

Business leaders and politicians call for ban on non-food plastic sachets

Recent legislation does not cover non-food plastics sachets

Convened through campaign group A Plastics Planet, 40 top representatives across the corporate, political and academic spectrum have written an open letter calling for non-food plastics sachets to be covered by legislative frameworks to phase-out unnecessary single-use plastics.

Iceland Foods’ Managing Director Richard Walker, Professor Julia Stegemann from University College London and Dr Paul Butler from the University of Exeter have been joined by Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, and President of The Ocean Foundation Mark Spalding in supporting the call to action.

The letter has all received cross-party political support from 22 UK politicians, including former environment advisor to Theresa May, Lord Randall of Uxbridge, and former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Members of the European Parliament including Margrete Auken, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Eleonora Evi, and Ivan Vilibor Sincic also gave their backing.

The 40 experts have warned that the world is set to go through a trillion sachets by 2030 and that the personal care industry produces 122 billion plastic sachets annually.

However, the sachets are not covered by the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, which will ban the production of a plethora of single-use items by 2021. Additionally, the UK’s approach to single-use does not cover the items. Instead, the UK ban will cover plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds.

Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet, said: “We’ve seen governments across the world crow about bans on single-use plastics, but the sample sachet is a huge piece of the pollution puzzle which every one of them is missing. 

“The hundreds of billions of sample sachets pumped out by the personal and home care industries each year are used to drive instant sales but will pollute the planet for centuries. With solutions readily available there is no excuse for inaction. Any ban on single-use plastics must cover sample sachets to stamp them out once and for all.”  

WWF research suggests the global plastics economy is still growing – and is far from circular or low-carbon. Its analysis revealed that a further 104 million tonnes of plastic will “leak” into ecosystems by 2030 without a step-change in approach and that the overall carbon intensity of plastic will increase by 50% within the same timeframe.

Many businesses see plant-based or bio-based alternatives as to food-based plastic sachets, alongside better recycling infrastructure, designing for recyclability and reusability, and simply going packaging-free where possible. These alternatives have been piloted by the likes of Just EatLucozade Ribena Suntory and Hellmann’s.

Matt Mace

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