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Plastics: Waste

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 267361, tabled on 20 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much of the UK's plastic waste has been shipped to other countries since 2010.

Answered on

28 June 2019

Since 2010 the amount of plastic waste exported to other countries for reprocessing has fallen from 850,000 tonnes a year in 2010 to 600,000 tonnes in 2018. In total over this period around 7 million tonnes have been shipped. This is based on HM Revenue and Customs trade data.

The UK is recycling more than ever, achieving a 46% plastic packaging recycling rate in 2017 and exceeding the EU target of 22.5%.The Government is clear we must export less waste and that any waste we do need to export is properly handled.

The recently published Resources and Waste Strategy is focused on increasing the supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK, thereby reducing exports of plastic waste. Any waste that will be managed abroad must be subject to strict controls and the government is committed to strengthening these controls.