Plastics: Bottles

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that fewer plastic bottles (a) are incinerated, (b) go to landfill and (c) littered on land or at sea.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

As part of the Litter Strategy for England, the Government has established the independent Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group. In autumn last year this working group held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. This included seeking evidence on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes. The working group analysed responses to this call for evidence and provided advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers, including plastic bottles this month., Ministers are now considering the working group’s report.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme and industry led Consistency Framework has a vision that all households in England are able to recycle the same core set of materials, including plastic bottles. The waste hierarchy places prevention at the top as it offers the best outcome for the environment, followed by preparing for reuse, recycling, other recovery (which includes energy from waste, via incineration) and then disposal. Landfill should only be considered as a last resort.

The Litter Strategy sets out our aim to clean up the country and deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The Litter Strategy brings together communities, businesses, charities and schools to bring about real change by focusing on three key themes: education and awareness, improving enforcement, and better cleaning and access to bins. A copy of the Litter Strategy can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england.

As marine litter is a transboundary problem we work with other countries to address it, particularly through the Oslo and Paris Conventions for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, G7, G20 and the UN Environment Programme.

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