With all the recent publicity on plastic pollution we thought you might be interested in having your say and sharing your views with the Government.

Marine plastic pollution is an increasing visible global environmental issue in our seas. In the Spring Budget the Chancellor announced a consultation on the use of taxes and charges to reduce the use of or improve the recycling of single use plastics and this will be your opportunity to influence the government’s policy on plastic.

(Plastic washed up on Henderson Island, a wildlife-rich uninhabited island in the South Pacific that is part of the Pitcairn UK Overseas Territory. Researchers in 2017 found 38 million pieces of rubbish washed up on the island, almost all of it plastic. Image courtesy of rspb-images.com.)

Waste issues are very complicated. The first few sections of the consultation are aimed at industry and you may have no knowledge of those issues or opinions. However, questions 13-16 are about how you as a consumer might feel about or react to changes in government policy on plastics. Here we would encourage you to talk to them about your own experience of the plastic bag tax or how you think they could help you to make better choices regarding the use of plastics. 

How to Respond

You can find the consultation document here: Tackling the Plastic Problem

You may wish to read the whole document but the section on “Consumption” begins on page 12 and contains the following questions which you might like to answer:

 13. What factors influence consumers’ choices related to single-use plastic items? 

  • How can the government encourage the re-use of these items? 

14. What are the barriers to consumers choosing alternatives to single-use plastic items, and how responsive would consumers be to price changes? 

15. In what way, and to what extent, do the decisions of producers and retailers influence consumer choice? 

16. In your opinion, how can the tax system or charges play a role in delivering better environmental outcomes at this stage? 

  • What interventions should be implemented, and why? 
  • What behavioural effect would these interventions have, both on this stage in the supply chain, and more broadly?
  • What would be the impact on consumers? 
  • Are there specific items the government should be focusing on?

You should send your responses by email to: ETTanswers@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk Remember to explain that you are responding in a private capacity rather than representing an organisation, though of course you are welcome to explain that you are responding after seeing our blog, and do include your address. 

The deadline for getting a response in is 18 May 2018.

You can help us track the impact of the campaign – please let us know at campaigns@rspb.org.uk if you've sent an objection, and any replies you receive

If you'd like more information on the plastics issue check out these Green Alliance blogs here, here and here.