Plastic-free Packaging (Fruit and Vegetables) — [Mr David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:17 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment) 5:17 pm, 12th November 2018

I agree with everything the hon. Gentleman has said, and I will come to that point later.

Plastic food packaging that is not recycled is costing Scotland an estimated £11 million annually. That needs to change, and the Scottish Government are taking appropriate measures to address that problem. I congratulate the Westminster Government on following the example of the devolved Governments by, for example, introducing a plastic bag charge. Wales introduced a charge in 2011, and over the first year that the ban was in place, it achieved a 71% reduction in the number of bags used. Northern Ireland achieved a two-thirds reduction in bag use over the first year. Scotland achieved an 80% reduction in bag use in 2014, and after England introduced its 5p bag scheme, it achieved an 80% reduction in the first six months. Those are all good strides forward, and the absence of blue bags on our streets is probably the most visible achievement. We do not see those bags anymore.