The United Kingdom's plastics industry started off this week with a very serious dispute involving U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
During an Oct. 25 special question-and-answer session with children ages 8-12 in advance of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Johnson said Brits need to cut back on plastics use and not expect recycling to be the answer.
"The PM said it was a 'mistake' to think society can recycle its way out of the problem, and added: 'It doesn't work,'" broadcaster BBC wrote.
He also went on to place much of the blame on the rise of plastics packaging on "about 12 companies."
"Twelve big corporations that are producing the overwhelming bulk of the world's plastics. Big, famous drinks companies that I won't name," he said in a video posted online by The Independent, then added, "Why not? Coca-Cola for instance ... which are responsible for producing huge quantities of plastics and we've got to move away from that and find other ways of packaging and selling our stuff because it's ending up in the ecosystem."
The response from U.K. recyclers was immediate, as you'd expect. Johnson's comments, they said, could derail previous investments in recycling education and infrastructure.
Recycling Association CEO Simon Ellin, speaking on BBC's World at One program, said that the comments were "very disappointing. I think he's completely lost the plastics plot."