Press Statement
13 March 2018

CIWM commends Government action on the ‘taxing’ question of plastic waste

Responding to the launch by the Chancellor today of the Government’s consultation on single-use plastics, CIWM has said this is an important opportunity to explore how we can turn the tide on unnecessary plastic waste, but any proposals must be linked into a wider review of resources and waste policy.

“Plastics have many important functions and are part of modern life – but we have to stop using this versatile and highly durable material in single-use applications that squander a valuable resource, contribute to the pollution of our environment and our oceans, and increase the cost to society of managing our waste,” says CIWM chief executive Dr Colin Church. “There is also a wider imperative to consider measures and incentives to reduce all types of waste, and make better use of recovered materials, to benefit the UK economy and the environment.”

A day after scientists from the University of Manchester reported finding microplastics “everywhere” in rivers in north-west England, CIWM is also calling on the Government to lead the way not just on single-use plastics here at home but also on tackling the issue of marine plastics pollution at a global level.

In addition to calling for a high-level commitment to collaborative action at the Commonwealth Summit in April, CIWM says the UK should do more to help developing and middle-income nations tackle pollution and reduce plastic waste, including through the UK’s international aid programme and support for innovation.

“This is an argument that CIWM has been making at the highest levels recently, in partnership with other organisations including Tearfund, the Institute of Development Studies, and WasteAid UK (joint letter), explains Dr Church. “Some 3 billion people across the globe do not have access to controlled waste disposal services and facilities, and research suggests that mismanaged municipal solid waste in developing countries is the major source of plastics entering the oceans. This means that there is significant scope for UK international aid to be better targeted at helping to address this crisis, as well as a role for UK expertise to help countries to develop approaches that tackle plastic waste in locally sustainable ways.”

CIWM will also be exploring the implications of the additional £80m the Chancellor has said will be made available to support businesses who take on apprentices and welcomed the commitment to delivering the right skills to embrace the new technologies of the future.

The consultation, which can be found here seeks to explore how economic incentives can be used to reduce waste from single-use plastics “by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling”, and also by driving innovation and investment in recycling. The questions cover the whole supply chain, from production and retail through to consumption and disposal.

A summary of the Chancellor’s key announcements can be found here.


Notes to Editors:

  1. CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) is the leading professional body for the resource and waste management sector representing around 5,000 individuals in the UK, Ireland and overseas. Established in 1898, CIWM is a non-profit making organisation, dedicated to the promotion of professional competence amongst waste managers. CIWM seeks to raise standards for those working in and with the sector by producing best practice guidance, developing educational and training initiatives, and providing information on key waste-related issues. More information can be found at

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