Plastics: Packaging

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Conservative, Preseli Pembrokeshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of polystyrene in packaging.

Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to ban the (a) production and (b) use of polystyrene plastic packaging in the UK.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Packaging materials, including polystyrene, are already covered by the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations which place a legal obligation on businesses that make or use packaging to ensure that a proportion of the packaging they sell is recovered and recycled. This creates an incentive for companies to use less packaging and to ensure that their packaging can be recycled at end of life as it will reduce their costs in complying with the Regulations.

In general, we prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright. We have, however, recently consulted on changes to the packaging producer responsibility scheme, looking at all aspects of the regime including mechanisms to encourage increased recyclability.

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