Plastic Pollution Crisis
My response to the Campaign for DEFRA targets to reduce single-use plastic pollution
Thank you for contacting me about plastic pollution.
The Resources and Waste Strategy for England sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more plastic than we do now.
I am glad that ministers have committed to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable or reusable by 2025.
Significant progress has already been made to address plastic pollution, including a ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and restricting the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The use of single-use carrier bags in the main supermarkets has been reduced by over 97 per cent. The charge for carrier bags was increased to ten pence and extended to all retailers.
More must follow and the Government is considering proposals to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, and balloon sticks, expanded and extruded polystyrene food and beverage containers, as well as other plastic items, including wet wipes and other single-use cups.
The Environment Act requires the Government to set at least one long-term target in the areas of resource efficiency and waste reduction and they are considering the many submissions received to this end.
We want to deal with more of our waste at home and I understand Ministers have already committed to banning the export of plastic waste to countries which are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Environment Act contains a power that will enable the Government to deliver on this commitment.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.