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Single-use Plastic

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

13. What recent assessment her Department has made of the feasibility of ending the use of non-essential single-use plastics. (903664)

Apologies, Mr Speaker; I was told that the right hon. Gentleman had withdrawn his question.

We have banned single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers, and have recently announced that additional items will be banned from October 2023, including plastic plates and cutlery and polystyrene food and beverage containers. Through our 25-year environment plan, we are committed to an ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

The Minister has a long-standing record in this area; I thought she might be jumping to get to the Dispatch Box to answer my question. We have to accept, though, that although we were making very good progress on reducing and eliminating the use of single-use plastics before covid, the measures that were necessary during lockdown did see a lot of that progress reversed, and there is now a need for a renewed and reinvigorated approach. Unfortunately, in Scotland we have a rather poorly designed deposit return scheme that risks further damage to the cause of reducing single-use plastics, so will the Minister join me and other Members across the House in designing a strategy for the eventual elimination of single-use plastics that can enjoy everyone’s support?

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I am always very keen to talk about these issues. Frankly, I believe this Government are doing a really great job in setting the direction of travel for reducing our use of plastics and, indeed, pressing on with all of our schemes—not just the individual bans that I have outlined—as well as the extended producer responsibility scheme, the data reporting section of which has already started; the deposit return scheme; and our consistent collections. I am sorry to hear what the right hon. Gentleman says about the Scottish deposit return scheme, but certainly, we in this place are pressing on with all our commitments and targets to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.