Thank you for contacting me.
The Resources and Waste Strategy - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-and-waste-strategy… - sets out the Government plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan
However for the most problematic plastics the Government will go faster, working towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025. In 2019, consultations ran on a number of key policy measures set out in the strategy: reforming existing packaging waste regulations; exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and increasing consistency in the recycling system. I am pleased that the Environment Bill includes powers to enable Government to deliver these measures which will be in addition to the significant measures taken to date.
Ministers remain committed to developing a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass. These schemes see consumers pay an up-front deposit that is redeemed on return of the empty drink container. I know that since consulting on its introduction in 2019, the Government has been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with recycling and waste organisations, as well as others. The scope of the scheme is being further developed and will be presented in a second consultation this year.
The Government has also announced key details of the world leading Plastic Packaging Tax at the 2020 Budget, which will help to tackle the pressing issue of plastic waste. The initial rate of the tax will be £200 per tonne and it will be paid by manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic.
Building on the microbeads ban, I am pleased that restrictions on the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds came into force on 1st October 2020, with exemptions to ensure that those with medical needs or a disability are able to continue to access plastic straws.
Finally, since the plastic bag charge was first introduced in 2015, the Government has successfully prevented billions of plastic bags being sold and ending up in the ocean and environment. I am pleased that this charge will now be increased to 10p and extended to all retailers to build on this success from April 2021.
Richard Fuller MP