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Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL949, tabled on 9 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce (1) the production, and (2) the use, of plastic in the United Kingdom

Answered on

21 June 2021

We have a strong manufacturing base in the UK with the rubber & plastics industry employing over 160,000 people. The UK Government continues to support UK businesses whilst tackling our priority to reduce plastic waste in line with our net zero ambitions.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. In 2018 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published our Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how to achieve this, move towards a circular economy and keep resources in the system for longer. Resource efficiency measures introduced by Defra have included the single-use carrier bag charge, which recently increased to 10p and extended to all retailers; and the ban of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

The Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and will include powers to create Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes such as a scheme for packaging meaning that producers will pay the full costs of dealing with the waste packaging that they produce; introduce Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) such as a scheme for single use drinks containers which will include those made from glass, plastic and metal; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items.

The Government has put together a package of £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million has been set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund and the Resource Action Fund including £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £149 million investment from industry, to drive research and innovation to develop more smart, sustainable plastic packaging.