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

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has a target for the reduction of single use plastics.

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

This Government is a world leader in tackling plastic waste, not only banning microbeads, but also taking 9 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5p carrier bag charge.

On 11 January we published our 25 Year Environment Plan that stated our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 and, in particular, the waste from single-use plastics. The steps we will be taking to do this include exploring the introduction of plastic-free aisles by retailers; exploring how we can develop our producer responsibility schemes to give producers more incentives to design more resource efficient products; and extending the carrier bag charge to small retailers.

In the 25 Year Environment Plan the Government also announced a plan to remove all consumer single use plastics from the central government estate offices. Defra Group are carrying out a full analysis of single use plastic through our supply chain and setting a requirement that new catering services exclude all consumer single use plastics. We work closely with other government departments and their agencies through the Greening Government Commitments to reduce their impacts on the environment.

In autumn 2017 an independent working group set up under the Litter Strategy for England 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 return schemes. Ministers are now considering the working group’s report.

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