News in brief (30/05/2023)

With news on: UK strengthens bid to ‘end plastic pollution’; Mars Wrigley pilots paper-wrapped Mars Bar; Cartons dropped at Somerset HWRCs due to kerbside ‘success’; and, Aldi ‘switching to colourless milk caps’.

UK strengthens bid to ‘end plastic pollution’

The UK, alongside 52 other members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution, has signed a ministerial statement, calling for an “ambitious global plastic pollution treaty to tackle plastic pollution and protect the marine environment”.

The HAC is a coalition of over 50 governments that have since agreed to end plastic pollution by 2040.

Procurement bill
The UK government added its signature to a statement calling for a range of mandatory provisions to eliminate plastic pollution

In the ministerial statement published on 26 May, calls for a range of mandatory provisions to be included in the global plastic pollution treaty, currently under negotiation

A statement from the UK Government said: “These include reducing the production and consumption of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels; eliminating and restricting unnecessary, avoidable or problematic plastics, chemicals and products; and eliminating the release of plastics into nature, amongst others.”

The statement comes ahead of the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee taking place in Paris this week.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow remarked: “I am proud to be amongst other HAC members signing this statement that calls for ambitious new measures within the global plastics treaty and look forward to some productive and high-reaching discussions in the upcoming INC-2 meeting in Paris.”

Mars Wrigley pilots paper-wrapped Mars Bar

Mars Wrigley has announced that it is to trial a “recyclable paper packaging” for Mars Bars sold in select Tesco supermarkets in the UK. 

The wrappers included in the trial will be fully recyclable at the kerbside, says the manufacturer

According to the company, the move comes arrives on the back of “extensive development work and investments and the trial will achieve a significant reduction in plastic on the physical Mars bar”.

Following the trial, Mars will use the learnings from the launch with Tesco “to inform other trials across the region”.

Richard Sutherland-Moore, packaging expert at Mars Wrigley UK’s research and development Centre in Slough said:We are exploring different types of alternative packaging solutions for our confectionery products. For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality and integrity of the product to prevent food waste.”

Adam Grant, general manager, Mars Wrigley UK added: With our Mars bar pilot project, we are taking a big step to see how paper-based packaging works in everyday life. From the test, we will derive insights for our sustainable packaging strategy.”

Cartons dropped at Somerset HWRCs due to kerbside ‘success’

Cartons and Tetra Pak will no longer be accepted at Somerset recycling centres from mid-June thanks to the “success of kerbside collections”, Somerset council has said. 

All 12 of the 16 sites which currently take these items – commonly used for liquids such as juice – will stop accepting them from Monday 12 June.

Plastic packaging
Cartons will no longer be collected at HWRCs due to the ‘success’ of kerbside collections (picture: Shutterstock)

Somerset council said the move is down to the “huge success of expanded collections which mean cartons are collected from the kerb every week with the rest of the recycling”.

Last year Somerset said it recycled close to ten tonnes of cartons each month, with less than 500 kilograms having been collected across the recycling sites.

Councillor Sarah Dyke, Somerset council’s lead member for environment and climate change, said: “I am proud that Somerset residents show they care for our county by recycling – it is all helping to make a greener more sustainable county.

“Kerbside collections are the most efficient way to collect that recycling, saving time and fuel from individual drop-off on site. Although we will no longer collect cartons at our recycling sites, I’d encourage everyone to continue to put their cartons out for collection in the green container.”

Aldi ‘switching to colourless milk caps’

Supermarket chain Aldi has said it is switching to colourless milk caps across all of its 990 stores in a bid to “further improve the recyclability” of the bottles. 

The clear bottle caps will make them ‘more recyclable’, Aldi said

The new milk caps have started to appear in stores this week.

Aldi explained that the roll out will mean a further 200 tonnes of High-Density Polythene in the bottle tops can be reused to create new milk bottles.

Customers will be able to distinguish the milk type via the labels, which will remain red, green or blue depending on the fat content.

Luke Emery, plastics and packaging director at Aldi, said: “Improving the recyclability of packaging on an everyday product like milk has been well received by our customers, who are increasingly aware of products being environmentally friendly.”

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