PM accused of ‘losing the plastic plot’ after saying recycling doesn’t work

Boris Johnson
Support us and go ad-free

Boris Johnson has been accused of having “completely lost the plastic plot” after telling schoolchildren that recycling “doesn’t work” as a means to ease the climate crisis.

The Recycling Association reacted with astonishment at the PM’s remarks during a Downing Street press conference for pupils on Monday, saying they were “very disappointing”.

“Recycling isn’t the answer”

No 10 had to tell the public to continue recycling after Johnson said “recycling isn’t the answer” and stressed the need to reduce the amount of plastic that is used.

“It doesn’t begin to address the problem. You can only recycle plastic a couple of times, really. What you’ve got to do is stop the production of plastic,” he said. “The recycling thing is a red herring,” the prime minister added after naming and shaming Coca-Cola as being one of 12 corporations “producing the overwhelming bulk of the world’s plastics”.

Appearing alongside Johnson, WWF UK’s chief executive Tanya Steele said: “We have to reduce, we have to reuse – I do think we need to do a little bit of recycling, PM, and have some system to do so.”

But Johnson replied: “It doesn’t work.”

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
“Wow”

Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association trade body for independent waste paper processors and their equipment suppliers, was shocked at the remarks.

“’Wow’, I think is the first answer,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

It’s very disappointing. I think he has completely lost the plastic plot here, if I’m honest

We need to reduce and I would completely agree with him on that, but his own Government has just invested in the resources and waste strategy, which is the most ground-breaking recycling legislation and plan that we’ve ever seen, with recycling right at the front of it.

So he seems to be completely conflicting with his own Government’s policy.

Frantic backpedalling

The prime minister’s official spokesperson had to say Johnson continues to encourage people to recycle, when asked by journalists in Westminster.

“Yes, the Prime Minister was setting out that recycling alone is not the answer,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re taking a wide range of action across society to cut plastic pollution.

“Simply relying on recycling alone, as the Prime Minister set out, would be a red herring – we need to go further and take wider action.”

Featured image via screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us