Following the release of Greenpeace’s report, ‘Trashed’, on the devastating consequences of UK plastic waste ending up in countries with insufficient recycling infrastructure such as Turkey, the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) calls on the UK Government to urgently invest in building the UK’s own recycling capacity as well as fast track legislation to ensure businesses use recycled content in their products.

NLWA with its recycling contractor, Biffa, ensures that 100% of recycled plastic – generated by two million residents in the London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Waltham Forest – is processed in the UK. With NLWA’s guaranteed plastic recycling tonnage, Biffa had a strong business case to build a new £27.5 million plastic recycling plant in Seaham, County Durham, which opened in January 2021. Biffa believes the plant will play an important role in reducing plastic pollution by improving the UK’s ability to recycle through sustainable closed loop systems.

NLWA’s Chair, Cllr Clyde Loakes, greatly welcomed Greenpeace’s report and said, “It is unconscionable that plastic waste generated in the UK is being sent to countries with minimal means to deal with it. The UK must deal with its own waste locally, not just for ethical reasons and to help combat the Climate Emergency but also because of the economic opportunities for the UK as it progresses to a more circular economy.

“I urge the UK government, in the lead up to COP 26, to make the UK much more attractive to inbound ‘green’ manufacturing investment. We need to build an end market for the UK’s recycling, which can help incentivise the building of necessary infrastructure and systems throughout the regions, with subsequent high-level jobs created in diverse areas including design, AI, technology, engineering, and logistics. This focus will help greatly boost the levelling up agenda and the economy whilst reducing the nation’s carbon and plastic pollution footprints.”

“The UK government should also urgently extend its ban of plastic stirrers, straws and plastic cotton buds to many more single use, unecological and difficult-to-recycle plastics such as polystyrene take away containers and coffee cups and lids. The Government must also fast track its Extended Producer Responsibility legislation whereby producers will face a ‘polluter pays’ tax unless their packaging has at least 30% recycled content.”


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