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Plastic Pollution

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. On a similar note to my answer to the previous question, the resources and waste strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. To do that, we have introduced a range of bans on certain plastic items, as she will know, and the extended producer responsibility scheme, for which data gathering has already started. The deposit return scheme and consistent recycling will also come on board.

There is huge support for banning plastic in wet wipes from hon. Members on both sides of the House, retailers, producers and water companies. The Government’s consultation on the issue ended more than a year ago, but it was not included in the recent plastic announcements—the Government’s action on the issue is so slow. Will the Minister support the campaign of Water UK and the water companies to bin the wipe? Will she meet me to talk about when the Government will finally bring in that ban on plastic in wet wipes?

I know how passionately the hon. Lady feels about the issue—I do too—but we have to get it right. We are still analysing the responses to that call for evidence. Great care has to be taken when considering something flushable, even if it does not have plastic in it—where does it go, where does it end up and what happens to it?—so we have asked for extra information about that. It is critical for wipes to be flushable, but I urge people not to flush things down the loo, because that is how we get blockages and fatbergs. I recently went to a nursery where they were making homemade wet wipes out of kitchen roll, none of which went down the loo. If hon. Members want to see my video on that, they should go on to my Instagram.