I decided not to throw away any of my plastic waste for a year when, in 2016, while out on a run, I stumbled across vast amounts of plastic entangled in washed-up seaweed. Shortly after, a query to my local council regarding plastic recycling garnered the response: “I’m afraid it’s not available where you live.” But recycling is our way of doing good, right? Recycling is just a word, not a promise. It’s the tentative nod of approval that allows us to rationalise the everyday choices we make.
The chancellor’s newly announced plastic tax will charge manufacturers if their plastic packaging does not include at least 30% recycled content. For this to work, packaging producers will need to rely on extensive availability of quality recycled materials in the UK. But Philip Hammond’s allocation of only £20m to tackle plastics and boost recycling isn’t going to touch the sides.