Campaign Response: Plastic Pollution

I have been contacted by constituents about Plastic Pollution.

As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:

Like many, my office and I participated in the Big Plastic Count in March. We were all shocked to see the statistics suggest such a low percentage of our plastic waste is recycled, with the majority of it sent abroad, incinerated or sent to landfill.

Recently, I visited the Milton Keynes Waste Recovery Plant in Wolverton and I was delighted to learn of the high levels of recycling in the city across all recyclable materials. However, I acknowledge that we need to be better across the whole country.

That is why I welcomed the Resources and Waste Strategy for England setting out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more plastic, and Ministers have committed to work towards all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Significant progress has already been made to address plastic pollution, including a ban on microbeads and restricting the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The use of single-use carrier bags in supermarkets has reduced by over 98 per cent.

Further, restrictions on a range of single-use plastics, including plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers have now come into force. I understand England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery and over 700 million single-use plates per year, but only 10 per cent are recycled. This new ban is the next step in cracking down on harmful plastic waste.

Through the Environment Act 2021, the Government has set a target to halve residual waste by 2042. This refers to waste that is sent to landfill, put through incineration, or used in energy recovery in the UK or overseas. This is an intentionally broad target, which will include the most environmentally harmful materials like plastics, rather than banning a single type of material and risk producers moving to a different, more harmful material.

Thank you to those constituents who took the time to contact me about this issue.