Plastic target

Thank you for contacting me about plastic pollution and the Big Plastic Count.

Protecting our environment and ensuring a new and effective regulatory framework for farmers post-Brexit is a major issue for a largely rural constituency like the Meon Valley. I am greatly supportive of initiatives such as the Big Plastic Count because it shows how we can do our part in building a more sustainable future. I have joined the Great Plastic Count myself and was shocked by the amount of plastic we use in our daily life. I will continue to work to minimalize my personal plastic use and will encourage the people around me to do the same. 

The Government has done a lot of work in this area. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more plastic and Ministers have committed to work towards all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable or reusable by 2025. Significant progress has already been made to address plastic pollution, including a ban on microbeads, plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The use of single-use carrier bags in supermarkets has reduced by 98 per cent.

From October 2023, a ban on a range of single-use plastics, including plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers has now come into force. England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery and over 700 million single-use plates per year, but only 10 per cent are recycled. This new ban is the next step in cracking down on harmful plastic waste.

Through the Environment Act 2021, the Government has set a target is to halve residual waste by 2042. This refers to waste that is sent to landfill, put through incineration or used in energy recovery in the UK or overseas. This is an intentionally broad target, which will include the most environmentally harmful materials like plastics, rather than banning a single type of material and risk producers moving to a different, more harmful material.