Lawmakers around the world have prohibited single-use plastic items such as straws and carryout bags, but more often than not, these anti-plastic measures will include broad exemptions, typically making exceptions for some businesses or specific items.
As the UK’s parliament considers an environmental bill, one significant loophole did not go unnoticed by some. A Plastic Planet (APP) wants to draw attention to the single-use sachet exemption in the UK bill, as well as the European Union’s single-use plastic directive, both of which are set to prohibit other disposable takeaway items by 2021.
Their latest campaign, “Sack the Sachet,” lays out some knowledge, saying that if you put a year’s worth of single-use sachets end-to-end, they would reach the moon 189 times. The 855 billion packets used annually house everything from condiments such as ketchup to personal care products like shampoo. These little plastic containers are almost always unrecyclable and go straight to a landfill.
In an open letter signed by a wide range of individuals, including Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson, Iceland Foods’ Managing Director Richard Walker, TimeOut Group CEO Julio Bruno, and financier Ben Goldsmith, APP and others urged politicians and global business leaders to work together to ban plastic sachets.
Experts such as Dr. Anna Bogush of the University of Coventry and Dr. David Aldridge from Brunel University London have backed the letter, as well as cross-party support from 27 members of parliament, including Conservative Sir Desmond Swayne and Labour Peer and former Football Association Chairman Lord Triesman.
“In recent years, governments and businesses have gone all out to enforce a ban on plastic straws, cotton buds, and even bags,” said A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland in a press release. “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,” she added. “Now, more than ever before, we have to Sack The Sachet.”