UK football must ‘show leadership’ on plastic waste, committee says

The chair of the Environmental Audit Committee has today written letters to the chairs of the English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Football Leagues to encourage them to do more to the fight against single-use plastics.

The Environmental Audit Committee recently conducted an inquiry into disposable packaging which found that only 57% of the 13 billion plastic bottles used in the UK every year are recycled and that the UK uses enough disposable coffee cups every year to stretch around the world five and a half times.

The Committee recommended that the Government introduce a deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles and a 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups.

Plastic balloons have been banned at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, and a deposit-return scheme for plastic cups has been introduced at Twickenham during Rugby Union fixtures. Tottenham Hotspur football club has also committed to phasing-out all single-use plastics.

The English Football League alone has 72 member clubs and is the single largest body of professional clubs in European football.

Mary Creagh, chair, said: ‘Plastic litter ruins our streets, chokes our seas and endangers wildlife. We all need to do our bit to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution.

‘There is a huge opportunity for sports organisations to reduce the use of throwaway plastic at matches and encourage fans to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

‘I want the UK’s football leagues to show leadership on this issue.’

Last month, Environment secretary Michael Gove used the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to call on the sporting industry to do more to tackle plastic waste.

Mr Gove said: ‘Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and we all have a role to play to tackle the threats our oceans face.

‘There are few groups which have the global reach and power the sports sector does to inspire change and mobilise action. The industry is already making great strides, and I look forward to seeing how they can build on this progress to be true ambassadors for global change.’


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