Tackling single-use items: independent report

Report from the Expert Panel for Environmental Charging and Other Measures setting out principles that can be used to reduce the dependence on single-use items in society.

Annex A: Library of Resources

Below is a select list of useful resources to refer to when developing appropriate solutions to reducing consumption of single-use items[10]

Green Alliance: Fixing the system: Why a circular economy for all materials is the only way to solve the plastic problem

The ‘Fixing the System’ report outlines that in response to public pressure, the government is rightly tackling plastic pollution but, in only addressing individual uses of plastic in a piecemeal way, it is not getting to the root of the problem and is storing up new environmental issues for the future.

In this report Green Alliance explains why the plastic-only approach is not working, and call for a fundamental rethink of resource use and management to ensure a safe, sustainable and efficient system.

The research is published as part of Green Alliance’s work for the Circular Economy Task Force.

UK Plastics Pact: Eliminating Problem Plastics

This report outlines the eight problematic or unnecessary single-use plastics set to be eliminated under The UK Plastics Pact by the end of 2020. 

Avoidable – can it be avoided in the context within which it is being used?

Replacement with reusable or alternative options

Design – selecting the type of plastic, design and manufacture to increase recyclability (using recycled content where practicable)

Investment in labelling, messaging and collections/recycling infrastructure to boost retrieval and recycling

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Reuse - Rethinking Packaging

This new release from the New Plastics Economy team provides a framework to understand reuse models by identifying six major benefits of reuse, and mapping 69 reuse examples. Based on an evaluation of more than 100 initiatives, and interviews with over 50 experts, it aims to inspire and help structure thinking. Reuse - Rethinking Packaging provides a basic description of how different reuse models work as well as typical implementation challenges.

Green Alliance: Plastic promises: what the grocery sector is really doing about packaging

Companies are under public pressure to stop using plastic. A market shift away from plastic for packaging in the grocery sector is happening surprisingly slowly with companies just starting to substitute single-use plastic for other single-use alternatives. But, overall, the amount of plastic packaging in use has not altered significantly. However, there are signs that this change could accelerate and, in this report, Green Alliance explores the trends and potential consequences.

Resource Futures and Nextek: Eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042: a use-based approach to decision and policy making

In response to increasing public and waste sector attention around issues relating to waste plastics, Resource Futures was commissioned by the Resourcing the Future partnership to develop a framework to assist products manufacturers, the waste management sector and policy-makers with making decisions around waste plastics.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: A toolkit for Policymakers

The report Delivering the circular economy: a toolkit for policymakers, describes a step-by-step methodology and demonstrates its application through a case study in Denmark. The toolkit itself is comprised of a 178 page detailed step-by-step guide to policymakers. However, it is complemented by an online resource of case studies and shorter summary document which highlights key ‘exhibits’ from the main document. Since the release of the Toolkit, the methodology has been used across a wide variety of projects and government types, e.g. for the Interreg project CirCE. The project involves eight regional and local partners using the Toolkit to increase the capabilities of their policy instruments.

The case study of Denmark applies the tools presented in the methodology and evaluates opportunities in five focus sectors: food and beverage; construction and real estate; machinery; plastic packaging, and hospitals.

IDEO and Ellen MacArthur Foundation: The Circular Design Guide

New Circular Design Guide helps businesses and designers solve linear problems with circular design. The Design Guide has been developed by IDEO and Ellen MacArthur Foundation with input from leading businesses, over 400 students and specialist design institutions. 

The tool includes 24 methods and a resource bank enabling change makers, entrepreneurial innovators and students to get to grips with the circular economy. The resource aims to embed circular design thinking, enabling businesses to re-think value creation to develop more circular products, services and resilient, feedback-rich organisations.

Unlike the Ellen Macarthur Foundation Toolkit, this toolkit is in the form of a website and provides lots of individual resources for the designers including design sheets, case studies and methods for circular design. It does not have a central document. 

United Nations Environment Programme: An analysis of life cycle assessment in packaging for food & beverage applications.

This report summarises the knowledge base on lifecycle assessments in food and beverage packaging. The optimal packaging design from an environmental performance standpoint will vary according to packaging system characteristics such as raw materials chosen for use, the specific product being packaged, and the corresponding supply chain.

The analysis provides practical guidance to support decision making regarding environmental performance of packaging for food and beverage applications. In addition, it provides a foundation of understanding for other packaging stakeholders (consumers, retailers, NGOs, etc.) of the challenges and opportunities related to driving common environmental sustainability goals for packaging in the food and beverage industry.

Institute for European Environmental Policy: Justifying plastic pollution: how Life Cycle Assessments are misused in food packaging policy

This report sets out the importance of considering the entire system in lifecycle assessment. Including all life cycle stages across the entire system is critical because it prevents the decision maker from inadvertently shifting the environmental burdens from one stage to another that lies outside the system boundaries. For example, a full lifecycle assessment will consider the end-of-life disposal of a product and whether it is recycled, landfilled or leaks into the marine or terrestrial environment via incorrect disposal (i.e. littering).

Furthermore, looking at the entire system means that the LCA considers the indirect environmental impact of the single-use item. The indirect impacts result from the way in which the item influences consumer behaviour. At present there is limited knowledge and data available on these indirect impacts of packaging. 

Involve: Deliberative public engagement – nine principles

The aim of this document is to encourage and support good quality deliberative public engagement activities.

There are lots of organisations and resources available to help with planning and conducting engagement. In the UK these include the public participation charity Involve and the Consultation Institute. The Involve website has helpful materials on engagement methods and case studies.


Email: EPECOM@gov.scot

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