I agree that we need to do all we can to encourage people to recycle and to stop producing so much waste in the first place. We must all be more ‘resource efficient’, which not only eases pressure on the environment and our stocks of natural resource but reduces costs too, boosting productivity. Where waste is produced, wherever possible we must ensure it is recycled.
Without urgent action to cut demand, it is estimated 34 billion tonnes of plastic will have been manufactured globally by 2050. Our Resources and Waste Strategy sets out plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more plastic than we do now. The target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan. For the most problematic plastics, Ministers are going faster and have committed to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Our landmark Environment Bill will require products to be designed to be durable, repairable, and recyclable, as well as legislating for the use of extended producer responsibility schemes in a way that incentivises more resource efficient design. The Bill also includes powers to enable other commitments to be delivered which will improve the quantity and quality of the materials we recycle. These include commitments to implement a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers and the introduction of consistent recycling collections across the country. I have been asking for this since I lived in America where they have a good system in supermarkets.
The Government has announced key details of the world leading Plastic Packaging Tax. The initial rate of the tax will be £200 per tonne and it will be paid by manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic. We have already banned microbeads. Restrictions on the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds came into force on 1st October 2020, with exemptions to ensure that those with medical needs or a disability are able to continue to access plastic straws. Finally, since the plastic bag charge was first introduced in 2015, the Government has successfully prevented billions of plastic bags being sold and ending up in the ocean and environment. It is anticipated that the extension of 10p will decrease the use of single-use carrier bags by 70-80 per cent in small and medium-sized businesses.