To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report entitled Plastic packaging plan: Achieving zero 'waste' exports, published by Policy Connect in January 2019, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a target of net zero UK exports of recyclable plastic packaging by 2030.
The UK is recycling more than ever and the Government is committed to increasing domestic recycling. Our approach in the Resources and Waste Strategy, from production through consumption to end of life, is focused on increasing supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK. This will grow the UK recycling industry and reduce the need to export recyclable waste. Waste is a commodity and these secondary materials will always have a global market. Exports from the UK will therefore form an ongoing part of our resource management where there is demand.
We are currently consulting on reforms to the Packaging Waste Regulations and are seeking views on the issue of exporting of packaging waste. We want to ensure that export of packaging waste is done in an environmentally responsible way and that domestic reprocessors are not unfairly disadvantaged. The consultation includes proposals to better manage and control packaging waste exports, including through tighter monitoring and enforcement of existing export regulations. We will also be looking at a suite of measures on waste shipments including increasing monitoring, improved provision for waste repatriation, and charging higher fees to improve compliance in the near future.