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UK government cuts plastic recycling targets

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British government has reduced the plastic recycling target for 2017

Campaigners have blasted the new Budget released by Chancellor George Osborne last week due to a small print section of the report which states that statutory recycling rates will be cut to 51% for 2017.

The UK government had previously set the statutory recycling rate for plastic at 57% by 2017, but according to a small section of the Budget small print, the rate will be decreased to 49% for 2016, and will increase every year by 2% until 2020.

Plastic recycling targets reduced

UK government reduces plastic recycling targets

The glass recycling rate of 77% will remain for 2017 but will then increase 1% per year until a rate of 80% is reached in 2020.

According to the report, the new plastic recycling targets are designed to “reduce the burden on businesses”. The new legislation for the altered recycling targets will be implemented later this year.

Environmental campaigners are angry at the reduced plastic recycling rates, especially as the sly announcement comes just days after British newspapers published articles highlighting the UK’s unsustainable use of throwaway coffee cups which are used by coffee shops including Starbucks and Costa Coffee.

According to the report, the UK is producing 2.5 billion coffee cups every year and only one in 400 of these are being recycled, with the rest being sent to landfill or incinerators. The UK government announced it had no intention of introducing a coffee cup tax, which had been hinted at by Minister Rory Stewart.

Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth’s campaign director, spoke with The Guardian: “Our oceans and countryside are awash with plastic pollution. Cutting these targets shows how little priority the government gives to these issues.”

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