Plastics: Reduction in Use - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:51 pm on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Dubs Lord Dubs Labour 2:51 pm, 7th May 2019

My Lords, will the Minister consider a sentence from the answer given to this House last month on the same topic? It referred to the Government’s,

“plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042”.—[Official Report, 10/4/19; col. 491.]

That begs a lot of questions, as it is a long way ahead. What about unavoidable plastic waste? Surely that can also be dealt with. We know about the statistics—the Minister will be fully aware of them—on the dangers to marine life and the thousands of years that it takes for plastic to degrade. Plastic has been found north and south on this planet, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Surely we require more drastic action than that.

I have had an interesting e-mail from Waitrose about what it is trying to do. Will the Minister comment on two specific suggestions? First, can he develop a clear, visible kitemark on all packaging to indicate whether it contains plastic, and whether it meets decent standards? It would be a kitemark agreed throughout industry. Secondly, what about having an annual award to industry—I would like, without his permission, to call it the David Attenborough award—for the company, business or local authority that does best each year in getting rid of plastic?