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REA targets plastics in garden waste following 90% drop in plastic bag sales

The UK government has announced that the sale of single-use plastic (SUP) bags from the largest retailers has fallen 90 percent following the introduction of the 5p charge on single-use bags in 2015. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) welcomes this as a remarkable achievement for the UK and the environment as well as a shining example of how much can be accomplished when government, industry, and consumers cooperate. However, REA notes plastic remains a prominent issue in the environment.

The Forsbacka municipal resource recovery and landfill site in Gävle, Sweden.

The UK government has announced that the sale of single-use plastic (SUP) bags from the largest retailers has fallen 90 percent following the introduction of the 5p charge on single-use carrier bags in 2015. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) welcomes this as a remarkable achievement for the UK and the environment as well as a shining example of how much can be accomplished when government, industry, and consumers cooperate. However, REA notes plastic remains a prominent issue as, despite the fall in plastic bag sales, plastic remains a prominent issue in the environment and garden waste collections.

Despite the fall in plastic bag sales, plastic remains a prominent issue in the environment and garden waste collections. Every year the composting industry spends millions of pounds removing and disposing of plastic from garden waste collections that should not be there in the first place. As well as costing the industry millions, plastic in garden waste collections is having a negative impact on the quality of compost.

The REA urge the government to drive behavioural change in households to reduce plastic in garden waste by backing its campaign by publicising and communicating clear and concise messaging on garden waste recycling.

Plastic bag sales falling by 90 percent since the introduction of the 5p charge is an extraordinary feat. It’s a testament to what can be achieved when government, industry, and consumers throw their weight behind an initiative. Whilst a huge step in the battle against contamination and single-use plastics, the war is not yet over. Unwanted plastics are still prevalent in household garden waste collections and this is having a detrimental impact on the quality of composts. It is imperative that we apply the same pace of change to removing plastics in garden waste as we have in cutting single-use carrier bags, said Jeremy Jacobs Technical Director at the REA.

The REA’s subsidiary company, Renewable Energy Assurance Limited (REAL) manages the certification schemes aligned with PAS 100, PAS110 and the Quality Protocols. These are recognised and established standards within the organics recycling sector which enable waste-derived composts and digestates to be used as products in a wide range of markets. REAL also manages the “Compostable Packaging” schemes.

The REA will also be building upon these by releasing its ‘Target Zero’ campaign, guidance aimed at helping households correctly dispose of garden waste and food and garden waste combined to eradicate plastic contamination.

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