MANDATORY LEVY ON TAKE-AWAY FOOD TO HELP SOLVE OUR LITTER CRISIS

MANDATORY LEVY ON TAKE-AWAY FOOD TO HELP SOLVE OUR LITTER CRISIS

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Green Beings started this petition to George Eustice and

The litter situation in this country is completely out of control. This sort of land pollution is not only detrimental to the environment (including wildlife, eco-systems and waterways), but also turns enjoyable public spaces into unhygienic, disgusting eye-sores. We have to put a stop to this, and we have to start thinking outside the box. Polite notices are simply not doing the trick.

As an organised litter-picking group, we have observed that at least 70% of the litter in our parks, green spaces, road-sides and beaches comes from take-away packaging. If this waste stream can be managed, litter will drastically decrease and the value of our green, open, and public spaces will significantly increase. What we propose, therefore, is a mandatory take-away tax for any establishments that offer a take-away service instead of an eat-in levy (unless customers bring their own containers / flasks / cups etc). Customers could then get the take-away tax "refunded" in the form of e.g. a money-off voucher if they bring their waste back to the store (like an in-house deposit return scheme). This would help drive repeat business for the establishment, encourage people to eat in more (less disposable waste), hold on to their take-away waste if they choose to eat on the go, and potentially help build new, more sustainable waste and behaviour habits in the long run. 

Following a consultation in 2019 a Deposit Return Scheme (where machines pay for empty tin cans and plastic and glass bottles) was due to be rolled out in England next year. This was fantastic news indeed, as public litter in countries that offer this service is enviably low. For some unknown reason, however, the Government has now decided that the DRS needs another consultation, and if it is to be rolled out, this will now not happen until late 2024 at the earliest. For this reason, it is more important than ever that we act now and tackle the litter problem at the source. More bins and more council workers emptying bins is not a viable or long-term solution, nor is relying on the goodwill of litter-picking volunteers. In fact, evidence shows that this will actually exacerbate the problem even further (Jevons Paradox)! The issue has to be tackled proactively and not reactively. We need to change production and consumption habits away from disposability. There are many ways in which this can be done, including education, regulation, tougher and enforceable fines etc., but targeting the problem at the source is definitely a good start.

Please sign and share far and wide! We simply cannot continue like this. The litter in the country is a total disgrace, a catastrophic environmental hazard, and an embarrassment to to us all. 

Thank you!

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