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New Bill designed to ban export of plastic waste

New Bill designed to ban export of plastic waste

When we throw away our waste materials, few of us in Stevenage know or possibly even wonder where this waste will end up. Many often believe that if it goes into the recycling bin, it will be recycled and therefore they will be doing their bit for the good of the environment. Unfortunately, a good deal of the plastic waste from Stevenage often ends up in developing countries.

China had already determined back in July 2017 to stop the import of twenty four kinds of solid waste from foreign countries. Solid wastes including plastics, paper products, and textiles, etc. The new policy was implemented on January 1, 2018, and banned the imports of those types of waste.

But now exporting polluting plastic waste to developing countries around the globe will be banned or restricted under a new law that is currently being discussed in the United Kingdom Parliament.

The Bill will be aimed at protecting some poorer countries against becoming the dumping ground for unwanted rubbish from more developed or powerful countries. This will affect people living in Stevenage and at Stevenage Skip Hire we are following the bill closely.

Some recent data shows that approximately 356,233 tonnes of plastic waste was sent for recycling from the United Kingdom alone to other developing countries in 2018, so there is a chance that the contents of your recycling bin are not even being recycled in this country or even at all.

Rivers and oceans suffer from this pollution

The plastic we export will often end up dumped in the waterways of these countries and thus may also end up in the ocean. This has resulted in many developing countries sending back waste to the countries that sent it to them in the first place.

The new Bill to protect the environment also rules that companies producing packaging must take more responsibility for the products and materials that they put out on the market.

Many environmentalists argue that the bill should also include stricter measures to reduce the amount of plastic that is being produced in the first place.

Bills such as this have been a long time coming but must surely be welcomed and embraced if we are to protect our environment for future generations.

There is also a proposal within the Bill for long term legal targets to support nature in the wild and improve the quality of air and water.

But will this Bill make any difference?

Environmental groups and campaigners have welcomed the bill but stated that, in some ways, it still leaves environmental protection considerably weaker than it was under the European Union. Others argue that as this plastic waste is such a concern, why after forty seven years of EU membership, is it such an issue if the EU controls were more powerful than the proposed Bill.

Many are particularly concerned about the role of a proposed new independent environmental watchdog that will replace the over seeing power of the EU and hold ministers to account for their policies after the United Kingdopm has left the EU.

The European Union can threaten to fine nations that fail to adhere to environmental laws, that threat forced the United Kingdom to tackle air pollution more seriously.

The newly formed Office of Environmental Protection will not have the power to fine the government. In fact, its members will be appointed by ministers, so how can it be truly independent.

To counter these criticisms, the government has stated that it will still hold its ministers to account, including on the business of the United Kingdom meeting its 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. The United Kingdom has become the first major economy to pass net zero emission laws. Hopefully more countries will follow suit.

Interestingly, most of the points and sections in the draft legislation were unveiled before the general election, another reason why the more skeptical have claimed it was merely a vote winning ploy.

The revised bill introduces the promise of a two yearly review of significant developments in international environmental legislation to ensure the United Kingdom keeps up with its environmental protection policies.

Is the Bill good news for wildlife in Stevenage?

The bill will support the governments twenty five year plan to improve the state of the environment and nature by demanding that developers show they will actively improve conditions for native and visiting wildlife.

Again, the critics say this may prove an empty promise unless the current balance of power between developers and local councils is shifted away from the developers, as they appear to hold all the cards at the moment.

The Bill also includes steps to give communities a much greater say in the protection of their local trees. There have been many heated debates recently over tree felling policies and campaigns up and down the country.

There will be a far more consistent approach to recycling in England. This is to put an end to the hit and miss problem on waste collections and recycling that is currently a major problem for many residents in the United Kingdom.

What about the single use plastic products we use in Stevenage and the waste they create?

There will also be powers to create a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and a mechanism for introducing a levy on single use plastics that could be applied to takeaway cutlery. The critics say this will not go far enough, as single use plastic cutlery should simply be banned and replaced with eco friendly products made from materials such as bamboo which is plentiful and fast growing.

When you consider that we are facing climate change and our natural environment is under greater threat than ever before, we really all need to be taking firm action now.

The Bill also promises that the environment will be at the heart of all government policy making, although critics are challenging this statement in light of the fact that how that ministers have said that they plan to spend 28.8bn on the road network. They argue that this development of the road network will simply encourage more fossil fuel burning vehicles on those roads, rather than reducing them.

Although many environmentalist groups welcome a good deal of this bill, many are concerned about the Office for Environmental Protection not being made up of independent staff, separate from the whims or control of the ministers who will appoint them under the current proposals. They go further to argue that it needs a guarantee of multi year funding and it needs complete organisational independence from the governments current environment department.

How effective will this ban be?

Some groups argue that banning plastic waste export to developing countries will not solve the problem as non developing countries such as Turkey and Poland both have very badly regulated dumps receiving plastic and other waste from the United Kingdom.

Many environmental groups also worry that the Bill will not guarantee that the current European Union environment standards will be upheld or built upon following the United Kingdoms exit from the Union.

The groups went on to claim that whilst they welcomed the Bill in theory, it offers no real legal guarantee to raise environmental standards in line with other nations in the future. The world is changing, so are our habits and we need to ensure that we can evolve rather than just standing still, any Parliamentary Bill must also evolve in line with us too.

So although we recycle most of the waste we throw away, we cannot guarantee where it will end up, but hopefully this Bill will go some way to safe guarding our environment for our future.


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Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 0800 169 8588, email us at stevenageskiphire@live.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd - Envirowaste Recycling Centre - Jacks Hill - Graveley - Herts SG4 7EQ

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd
Envirowaste Recycling Centre
Jacks Hill
Graveley
Herts SG4 7EQ

Articles
New Bill designed to ban export of plastic waste
The problems with waste disposal in Stevenage
Plastic pollution around the globe
Carbon emissions and the environment
How the five R's can dramatically improve our environment in Stevenage?
Recycle or incinerate! What is the best solution for our waste materials in Stevenage?
Single use plastic products in Stevenage
A guide to what can and cannot go into a hired skip
Recycling your waste materials in Stevenage
The problem with plastic pollution in Hertfordshire
Waste reduction in Hertfordshire
Plastic waste from the United Kingdom may be sent overseas instead of recycled
Just how recyclable is the plastic we use in Stevenage Skip Hire
What happens to all the plastic we throw out
Fly tipping: A modern day curse
Recycled plastic for roads and pavements
Seaweed sachets offer an alternative to plastic
The increasing problem of plastics in our oceans
Plastic pollution in the ocean starts from the rivers
Ways to reduce your plastic waste
Plastic microbeads are a load of rubbish
Waste plastic from the UK is polluting the globe
Hiring a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire rather than using the local dump
Hire a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire for your garden waste
Get a skip and avoid fly tipping in Hertfordshire
Some facts about waste and recycling from Stevenage Skip Hire
Hire a skip instead of going to your local Hertfordshire tip
Hire a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire for your soil and mud
Useful information about skip hire in Hertfordshire
Hire a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire to save you time effort and money
The benefits of skip hire from Stevenage Skip Hire in Hertfordshire
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