01 MAR 2018
Plastic Free Parliament
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about the plastic free Parliament campaign.
I understand your concerns about the damage plastic causes the environment. I only recently had a meeting with a constituent on this matter and I am hoping to work with them to do more to raise the profile of this issue. In addition, I also attended a Sky Ocean Rescue event in Parliament and you can read more about this on my website.
Parliament is currently reviewing the use of single use disposable plastics and is actively involved in a range of initiatives and pilot schemes looking to reduce the amount plastic thrown away on the estate. One example of this is the sourcing a new reusable cup which will be sold in both retail and catering outlets for visitors as well as pass holders.
In addition, I hope the following information on this topic from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is reassuring:
Without urgent action to cut demand, plastic production is likely to reach 34 billion tonnes by 2050, the majority of which will end up in landfill or polluting the world's continents and oceans. Re-using and recycling plastics is critical.
The new 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment commits the Government to working to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste over its lifetime. It sets out a four-point plan for action at each stage of the product lifecycle: production, consumption and end of life.
Producer responsibility systems including packaging waste regulations will be reformed, which will include exploring extending these requirements to more products. Building on the microbeads ban, Ministers will look into whether other problematic materials should be banned where there are suitable alternatives.
Demand for single-use plastic will be cut. All consumer single use plastics will be removed from central government estate offices, and uptake of the highly successful 5p plastic bag charge extended to small retailers. Businesses will be supported to offer new, free refill points for water bottles to be topped up, and work with retailers will explore introducing plastic-free supermarket aisles, where all the food is loose.
The Plan will make it easier for people to recycle, using existing systems as well as new research into measures to reduce littering and promote recycling of drinks containers. Ministers will work to bring more consistency to which materials are collected by local authorities, and with Research Councils to help develop a standard for biodegradable plastic bags.
Lastly the UK will demonstrate international leadership, doing more to help developing nations tackle pollution and reduce plastic waste, including through UK aid.
You may also wish to read the newly published 25 Year Environment Plan
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