Written evidence submitted by A Plastic Planet (PW0062)



We are grateful to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee for inviting us to give evidence.  The below memorandum seeks to set out some headline calls to action to supplement our written evidence to the Committee, and which we hope will provide a useful aide memoire for the session.


About A Plastic Planet

A Plastic Planet is an international organisation with a single goal: to turn off the plastic tap. We believe a radical reduction in plastic production is needed to stave off the waste crisis. Since plastic can only be recycled a few times before it becomes useless, it will almost always end up in the environment sooner or later.


In just four years, A Plastic Planet has built a global coalition of experts calling for the adoption of innovative plastic-free packaging solutions for grocery retail such as biomaterials made from wood pulp, plant cellulose, food waste, algae and fungi, as well as other materials including metal, paper, carton board, glass and aluminium.



Less than 9 percent of the UK’s plastic waste is recycled in UK, despite Britons consuming huge amounts of it. Per capita the UK is the second biggest producer of plastic waste in the world, after the US. In the UK, an estimated 4.9 million metric tons of plastics are placed on the market each year, of which three-quarters become waste.[i] With only a fraction being processed for recycling, the rest goes to landfill, export, incineration, or most likely, the environment.


Despite this plastic production is set to triple by 2040. A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts and SystemIQ (Breaking the Plastic Wave) found that even if all government and industry commitments were met, it would only reduce the flow of plastic into the world’s oceans by 7 percent by 2040.[ii] It further outlines that unless immediate and sustained action is taken, the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean every year will triple by 2040 to 29 million megatonnes – the equivalent of dumping 110 pounds of plastic on every metre of coastline around the world.


Two thirds of plastic waste separated for recycling in the UK is sent abroad for processing, with many of those countries receiving it in the Global South.  While A Plastic Planet welcomes government plans to ban exports to non-OECD countries, we call on ministers to go further with a complete ban on plastic waste exports.


A Plastic Planet calls to action


Reduce plastic production to reduce plastic waste




Government targets


New bans on single use plastic



Mandatory common metrics for plastic footprint reporting for UK supermarkets


The Refill Revolution


Plastic packaging tax and Extended Producer Responsibility




Plastic waste exports

 Sian Sutherland

Co-founder, A Plastic Planet

7th December 2021

[i] Statista

[ii] Pew Trust & Systemiq Report, Breaking the Plastic Wave

[iii] Pew Trust & Systemiq Report, Breaking the Plastic Wave