Environment Minister at the Great British Spring Clean 2019 launch
Today saw the launch of the Great British Spring Clean, which will officially run from 22 March – 23 April 2019.
The annual event calls on communities to clean up their local area through local litter picking events. Last year, over 370,000 #LitterHeroes collected litter at 13,500 events across the UK.
This year’s event will focus on collecting and disposing of single-use plastic from our streets, parks and beaches, recycling as much as possible.
Speaking at the launch, Environment Minister Therese Coffey said:
We need to be united in making sure this just becomes a habit that everyone gets into on a regular basis, of not allowing litter to be left.
Through our Resources and Waste Strategy there is more that we are doing to try and make sure that producers and manufacturers will be helping towards better recycling, and one of the key aims of a future Deposit Return Scheme is reducing littering.
Government is cracking down on litter. Since April 2018, councils have had the power to almost double maximum on-the-spot fines for littering to £150. Since April, Local authorities can also use these littering penalties against vehicle owners if it can be proved litter was thrown from their car.
We have recently launched our ambitious ‘Keep it Bin it’ anti-litter campaign in partnership with environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, and supported by some of the biggest names in retail, travel and entertainment, to make littering culturally unacceptable within a generation.
Government is also committed to eliminating single-use plastic waste. We have introduced a world-leading ban microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, have taken over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5p carrier bag charge, and launched a consultation to extend the charge to all retailers and double the minimum charge to 10p.
We have also announced plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for single use drinks containers, and ban the sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, subject to consultation.
The Chancellor has proposed a world-leading new tax on plastic packaging which doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content.