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5 January

UK supermarkets face plastic packaging ban for fruit and veg

A proposed legislation may require the sale of loose produce in recyclable bags throughout the UK. Credit: Goncharov_Artem via Shutterstock

Pre-packed fruit and vegetables could become a thing of the past in the UK with the government now considering new regulations. 

The proposed laws around food waste could see plastic wrapping dropped in favour of loose produce across UK supermarkets. 

Slated to be implemented in 2024, the laws would affect all major UK supermarkets and would see stores sell loose fruit and vegetables in an effort to slash plastic packaging and reduce food waste.  

The proposed shift was driven by Wrap, the climate action NGO, which suggests that 30% of fruit and vegetables should be sold loose by 2025 and that this figure should increase to 50% by 2030.  

8 January

US health advocates call for clearer ingredient labelling on packaging

US health advocates are urging manufacturers to prominently display product ingredients on the front of their packaging. 

This push comes as part of a broader effort to enhance public awareness and enable individuals to make informed choices about the products they purchase and consume. 

Advocates argue that clear and easily accessible information about a product’s ingredients is essential for public health. Currently, they claim, many consumers find it challenging to decipher complex ingredient lists on the back of packages. 

By placing this crucial information on the front of the packaging, supporters believe it will help individuals quickly assess the contents and make healthier decisions. 

9 January

New study finds high volume of nanoplastics in bottled water 

A study conducted by researchers from Columbia University in the US has revealed an alarming concentration of nanoplastics in bottled water.  

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences peer-reviewed journal, the study found that bottled water contains up to 100 times more nanoplastics than previously believed.  Nanoplastics are tiny plastic particles capable of infiltrating human cells and entering the bloodstream, with potentially severe detriments to health.   

Using advanced microscopy and a data-driven algorithm, the team analysed 25 one-litre bottles from three well-known brands in the US. The analysis showed a concentration of 110,000 to 370,000 plastic particles per litre, with 90% being classified as nanoplastics.   

22 January

Lagos bans polystyrene and single-use plastics 

The government of the Nigerian state of Lagos has implemented an immediate ban on the use and distribution of polystyrene and other single-use plastics, citing significant environmental concerns.  

The announcement was made by the state’s Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab.   

According to the commissioner, the decision was taken in response to the severe environmental impact caused by the non-biodegradable and toxic nature of polystyrene. 

Wahab pointed out that polystyrene is a major contributor to the clogging of drainage channels, despite ongoing cleaning efforts and substantial prevention expenditure.  

24 January

UK: EPR changes in packaging - what to know 

The landscape of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging in the UK has evolved, with significant changes outlined in the latest guidance released on 23 January 2024. 

These updates affect all organisations involved in the supply or import of packaging. Here’s what you need to know to stay compliant. EPR for packaging: key changes and deferral of fees. If your organisation is impacted by extended producer responsibility for packaging, it is essential to be aware of the latest developments. 

The most noteworthy update is the deferral of EPR for packaging fees for a year. In 2024, you won’t be required to pay any EPR fees; however, compliance with reporting guidelines for 2023 remains mandatory. It is crucial to continue adhering to previous regulations and fulfilling any outstanding fee obligations.