Thank you for contacting me about plastic pollution. I share your desire to tackle this scourge.
Building on the success of the plastic carrier bag charge, we have doubled the charge and extended it to all retailers. We have also banned the use of plastic microbeads and various single use plastic items.
The landmark Environment Bill will give the Government a raft of new powers to step-up our war against plastic pollution and litter. For example. we are committed to introducing a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, which will recycle billions more plastic bottles and stop them being landfilled or littered. The Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for packaging will make manufacturers responsible for the full net cost of recycling their packaging waste and encourage more recyclable packaging. The manifesto on which I stood pledged to ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries and the consultation on that is about to begin. Ministers will have new powers that will make it easier to place charges on single-use plastic items that threaten our ecosystems. The Government is also introducing a world-leading new tax set at £200 per tonne on plastic packaging which doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022, to encourage greater use of recycled plastic to tackle the problem of plastic waste and protect our environment.
Internationally, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, along with our co-chair Vanuatu, to reduce marine plastic pollution. Since its launch, 34 Commonwealth member states have united to take action on tackling plastic pollution. The UK’s Commonwealth Litter Programme has supported several Commonwealth countries to develop National Marine Litter Action Plans which focus on preventing plastics from entering the ocean, with emphasis on capacity building and developing plastics monitoring programmes.
The UK has supported the Global Plastic Action Partnership to create collaborative platforms for businesses across the plastics supply chains to collaborate with NGOs and governments on tackling marine plastic pollution. Partnerships have been launched in Vietnam, Indonesia and Ghana.
In 2020, the Environment Agency prevented the illegal export of 46 shipping containers of plastic waste to Turkey and this year they have already prevented the illegal export of 122 further containers. The Environment Agency has developed a good relationship with the Turkish Ministry of Environment, who have expressed their thanks for the UK’s collaborative approach in preventing illegal exports of waste to Turkey.
Thank you again for contacting me and I look forward to working with all the residents of West Worcestershire so that we can all do our bit to tackle plastic pollution.
Harriett Baldwin MP
Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire