‘Sack the sachet’ campaigners call for single-serve ban
Campaigners have called on the government to act urgently to curb the use of single-use plastic sachets, in an open letter sent to UK newspapers.
Social impact group A Plastic Planet has urged action within the Environment Bill 2020, introduced to the UK Parliament earlier this year, that seeks to introduce charges for single-use plastic items. Plastic sachets are typically used to package single-serve portions of liquids and sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise and are also popular for toiletries such as shampoo and face creams.
Some 855bn sachets are used globally every year and few are recycled, with many thrown away without even being opened. Despite this, they have not been included in the upcoming legislation and are also not covered by the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, which will outlaw a number of disposable items by 2021.
The letter states that sachets have fallen through a “legal loophole”.
Some companies have taken up the challenge of finding alternatives to the polluting packets, such as the UK’s Just Eat chain, which recently teamed up with Unilever to pilot Hellmann’s sauces packaged in 100% compostable seaweed-based sachets, replacing 40,000 sachets in eight weeks. However, A Plastic Planet and other environmental campaigners have said the planet cannot wait for the market to catch up.
We have become slaves to the sachet. They are the ultimate symbol of our grab-and-go, addicted-to-convenience lifestyle. Uncollectable, unrecyclable and valueless, they pollute our planet at an increasing rate– Excerpt from the environmental campaigners letter
More than 50 business leaders, politicians and campaigners signed the open letter, including Iceland Foods’ managing director Richard Walker, environmentalist Jonathon Porritt and the UN secretary general’s special envoy for the ocean, Peter Thomson.
Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet told The Guardian: “In recent years governments and business have gone all out to enforce a ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and even bags. And yet the plastic sachet, the ultimate symbol of our convenience-addicted lifestyle, has been virtually invisible to all.
“The result? Our Earth is saturated with these contaminated, valueless little packets. It’s time to close the legal loophole. Now more than ever before we have to sack the sachet.”