Litter: Tobacco

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23 March 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of his Department's powers to require the tobacco industry to take steps to limit littering from its products.

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

The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. We support ongoing efforts by the environmental organisation Keep Britain Tidy to work in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter, and we are watching this space with interest.

Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.

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