New INCPEN insight defends impact of plastic bottles and coffee cups on environment

24 April 2017 (Last Updated April 24th, 2017 18:30)

The Industry Council for Research on Packaging & the Environment (INCPEN) has said that all drinks containers including plastic bottles and coffee cups account for less than 15% of the litter found in the marine or land environments.

The Industry Council for Research on Packaging & the Environment (INCPEN) has said that all drinks containers including plastic bottles and coffee cups account for less than 15% of the litter found in the marine or land environments.

The insight was presented in response to the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee’s new inquiry into the environmental impact of disposable drinks packaging, with a focus on the impact of plastic bottles and coffee cups.

According to INCPEN, if used appropriately and disposed of responsibly, the use of plastic bottles and coffee cups would do little harm to the environment.

The organisation also noted that the companies should consider the environmental impact of the recycling process, which in some cases can be more than the value that can be recovered.

“We welcome this inquiry and hope it will cast some clear light on the reasons why plastic bottles and coffee cups exist and both the positive and negative impact they have."

In order to reduce littering, the organisation has further suggested the companies target all types of litter instead of some selected items.

Industry Council for research on Packaging & the Environment director Jane Bickerstaffe said: “We welcome this inquiry and hope it will cast some clear light on the reasons why plastic bottles and coffee cups exist and both the positive and negative impact they have.

“What is essential is that these bottles and cups are considered as part of the wider question of preventing littering. 

“We do not believe that focusing on individual items will have the desired effect.”

In addition, INCPEN stated that of five million tonnes of used packaging, cups have a 0.5% share, while soft drinks bottles and cans share 14%.  

A recent scientific litter survey has also suggested that charges do not influence litterers.