The UK’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into plastic food and drink packaging to determine the progress made by packaging manufacturers, food producers and retailers in reducing the use of plastic food and drink packaging.

2Apr - UK Gov.

Image: The UK Government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into plastic food and drink packaging. Photo: Courtesy of Parliament UK.

The committee also aims at investigating the obstacles and opportunities to progress in packaging innovation, and assess the performance of alternatives to plastic in comparison to food and drink packaging made of plastic.

In addition, the committee seeks to address other issues, including foods and drinks that need to have plastic packaging or for which alternatives to plastic are hard to find, and the likely impact of government proposals on cutting down plastic food and drink packaging.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee chair Neil Parish said: “Plastic currently pollutes this country’s soils, rivers and coasts, with millions of tons of plastics used in the UK every single year. It has become a global environmental problem. Once plastic packaging becomes waste, most of it does not biodegrade which damages the environment and affects a range of marine species.

“The committee is keen to find out what progress has been made in developing and using more environmentally friendly alternatives to plastics and how they perform when compared to plastic food and drink packaging.”

The committee said that it wants to know whether there is adequate research and development funding and support for the development of alternatives to plastic for packaging food and drinks.

Parliament has suggested a deadline for submission of written responses through the committee’s web portal until May 2, 2019.

Parish added: “It is imperative that we find practical ways to protect the environment and reduce the risks posed by increasing plastic pollution. We also hope to highlight how Government action may help to alleviate this significant threat.”

The UK government said that it encourages the members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence and aims to have diverse panels of the committee to monitor the diversity of the witnesses.