The government is watering down statutory plastic packaging recycling targets just days after high street coffee chains came under fire for allowing millions of coffee cups to end up in landfill.
Campaigners said the announcement - buried in the small print of the Budget on Wednesday - showed that protecting the environment is a low priority for the government.
The UK has a statutory plastic packaging recycling target of 57% by 2017. That target will now be reduced to 49% for 2016 and then increased by 2% each year to 2020, to a maximum of 57%.
For glass, the existing target of 77% will be maintained until 2017 and then increased by one per cent each year to 2020, to 80%.