A Plastic Planet launches new campaign backed by a host of leading business figures and environmentalists to extend plastic crackdown to disposable sachets
The number of disposable plastic sachets used each year could cover the entire surface of the globe, and yet one of the most conspicuous examples of single use plastic packaging has to date escaped the crackdown to curb plastic waste levels.
That is the premise behind a major new campaign launched today by A Plastic Planet, which is calling on the government to close the "glaring loophole" in the Environment Bill and extend new rules to cover plastic sachets.
Dubbed 'sack the sachet', the campaign is backed by over 50 leading figures, including Iceland Foods' managing director Richard Walker, environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, UN Special Envoy Peter Thomson, financier Ben Goldsmith, and TimeOut Group CEO Julio Bruno.
An open letter from the group calling on the government to amend the Environment Bill, which enjoys its second reading today, has also secured cross-party political support from 27 Parliamentarians including Conservative Sir Desmond Swayne and Labour Peer and former Football Association Chairman Lord Triesman.
The Environment Bill includes a raft of measures to curb plastic waste, including new extended producer responsibility to cover a wide range of plastic packaging and a system of charges for single use plastic items. But sachets are not currently covered by the new rules.
Similarly, sachets are not covered by the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive which is set to outlaw a host of throwaway items by 2021.
"In recent years governments and business have gone all out to enforce a ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and even bags," said A Plastic Planet Co-Founder Sian Sutherland. "And yet the plastic sachet, the ultimate symbol of our grab and go, convenience-addicted lifestyle, has been virtually invisible to all. The result? Our earth is saturated with these uncollectable, unrecyclable, contaminated, valueless little packets.
"It's time to close the legal loophole. Now more than ever before we have to Sack The Sachet."
Alongside the launch of the new campaign, the group published an analysis showing that that the 855 billion sachets used each year globally are enough to cover the entire surface of the Earth. Similarly, if you placed a year's worth of sachets end to end, they would stretch 72 million kilometres - equivalent to 189 trips from earth to the moon. With sachets in wide use for condiments, shampoos, and other products the world is set to go through a trillion sachets by 2030.
However, a number of companies are taking steps to identify alternatives for ubiquitous plastic sachets. A number of hotel chains have banned the use of single use plastic shower gel and shampoo packaging in favour of reusable bottles, while work is also underway to scale up the production of edible or biodegradable sachets made from seaweed.
Late last year, Just Eat and Hellmans announced they were expanding a trial to provide 100 per cent biodegradable seaweed based condiment sachets to 65 takeaways in London.
Visual imagery is increasingly influential in shaping consumer perceptions, the research from Getty Images shows
Progress on protecting life on land has been agonisingly slow, as deforestation and habitat loss has accelerated, but hopes remain that a step change in global land management can yet be engineered
Drinks giant developed new policy in partnership with the Rainforest Action Network and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) In bid to guard against deforestation and labour rights abuses
Mining giant unveils strategy for 'climate neutral' growth over the next 10 years as it invests in developing zero carbon aluminium