Schools: Plastics

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Kate Osamor Kate Osamor Labour/Co-operative, Edmonton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that schools are reducing their use of single use plastic.

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

Whilst Defra does not directly work with schools to reduce their use of single use plastics, the Government published the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) in December 2018, setting out our plans to reduce, reuse and recycle more plastic than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - that is why we are committing to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Our landmark Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals in the RWS. The Bill will enable us to create extended producer responsibility schemes; introduce deposit return schemes; establish greater consistency in the recycling system and charge for single use plastic items, all of which will assist with reducing and dealing with single use plastics in schools.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), supported by Defra, works to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency. Through RecycleNow, a national recycling campaign for England, they run an engagement programme targeted towards primary school children and encouraging them to think about recycling and sustainability.

In addition, Keep Britain Tidy runs an England-wide Eco-Schools programme, working with schools to educate young people about the dangers of littering.

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