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Direct Marketing

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 33623, tabled on 21 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce the volume of (i) junk mail, (ii) charity collection bags and (iii) commercial marketing material delivered to people's homes and (b) ensure that those items are (A) recyclable or (B) biodegradable.

Answered on

31 March 2020

The Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse and recycle more plastic than we do now and to move towards a more circular economy. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Households can sign up to services to stop receiving unsolicited mail, such as those provided by the Direct Marketing Association or Royal Mail. A “no junk mail” notice may also be effective.

Charity textile collections offer a convenient way for people to reduce their environmental impact, reusing or recycling around 650,000 tonnes of clothing which might otherwise be sent to landfill.

In 2017, following a public consultation, the Fundraising Regulator strengthened its Code of Fundraising Practice to require charitable house to house collectors not to post collection bags to properties that indicate they should not do so by way of a notice, for example “no charity bags”. People can complain to the local council and provide feedback directly to charities. The bags can be reused for other purposes or recycled.

The Government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impact of plastic, if they are disposed of in the right way. We therefore published a call for evidence last year to help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy.