Drastic action needed to tackle plastic pollution

Plastic bottles

Campaigners have travelled to Holyrood to highlight the importance of reducing the use of plastics in Scotland

12th June 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Drastic action is needed to tackle plastic pollution in Scotland.

Environmental campaigners are today (Wed 12 June) calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward new laws to tackle waste and pollution from plastics and other materials by reducing resource use.

Scottish Environment LINK - an umbrella group representing 38 green organisations - wants the Scottish Government to honour the SNP’s manifesto commitment and introduce an ambitious Circular Economy Bill that will increase rapidly the amount of materials reused and recycled by Scottish businesses and households.

The group will take its plea directly to MSPs today (12 June) at an event in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) estimates that the population is consuming resources as if we had three planets, leading to environmental destruction. LINK’s proposal aims to use SEPA’s concept of One Planet Prosperity to create a timescale and targets to significantly reduce our use of resources.

The Scottish Government has been praised for initiatives to reduce plastic pollution, like the forthcoming deposit return scheme, but campaigners say far more ambition is needed to extend this approach to other materials.

As well as setting targets, the LINK proposals for the bill include: a duty on ministers to report on progress towards the bill’s targets; a new resources reduction plan; an expert committee to advise government and measures to phase out specific problem materials such as polycarbonate which is difficult to recycle.

Matthew Crighton, convenor of LINK’s economics group, said: “We need to move rapidly to a more circular economy because the climate and ecological emergencies we face are partly driven by what and how much we consume.

“The Scottish Government’s promised Circular Economy Bill is an opportunity to set us firmly on a course towards reductions in the resources we use by keeping as much material as possible circulating in the economy, rather than chucking it out as waste. Our current approach where products have a short lifespan and are seen as disposable is creating mountains of waste for future generations as well as exhausting valuable natural resources.

“Reducing waste is not only about recycling, it’s about designing a whole system so that producers of things like fridges, computers, tyres and mattresses take responsibility for what happens to them at the end of their lives. Applying the principle of producer responsibility would mean products are designed so they that can be easily repaired or broken down to make new products.”