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Environment Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:43 pm on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 6:43 pm, 28th October 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the extended producer responsibility provisions in the Bill will help to deliver the results for which she is calling.

Our “Future of the Sea” report estimates that 12 million tonnes of plastic are currently entering the ocean and that that could treble by 2025. Our constituents are demanding change. We must act to address the shocking levels of plastic in the marine environment, and the Bill will make it easier to reuse and recycle so that we build a more circular economy at home to conserve and better use our precious natural resources.

Clause 49 grants the power to set up a deposit return scheme for products such as drinks containers. Clause 50 enables the plastic bag charge to be extended to other items—the charge has seen bag use drop by 90% since its introduction. We believe that these provisions will be widely welcomed by many who want concerted action to tackle the tragedy of plastics pollution. The suite of measures on plastics in the Bill is further strengthened by powers to make those who produce plastic packaging pay for its whole lifetime cost, including disposal. This will incentivise a switch to more sustainable forms of packaging and, crucially, provide an income stream to fund improvements to the way we tackle waste and recycling. Stronger standards for a wide range of products and clearer labelling will enable consumers to identify more sustainable products. A consistent set of materials will be collected from every household and business to help us all to recycle more, and the Bill also includes measures to encourage businesses to waste less food and help to ensure that surpluses reach those who need them.