Lib Dems announce war on plastics

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats will set out a raft of policies as part of a radical plan to end the UK’s addiction to plastic.

These policies include:

  • Requiring all retailers to reduce the amount of plastics and non-recyclable packaging they use
  • Implementing a deposit return scheme
  • Ending plastic exports abroad by 2030

Following this announcement, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Wera Hobhouse said:

The UK produces 2.26 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year, but less than half of this is being recycled. The Conservatives have claimed they will cut plastic pollution but all they have done in reality is attempt to get headlines with piecemeal bans on straws and stirrers.

The Liberal Democrats demand better for our environment. We need a rapid plan to eliminate plastic pollution if our seas are to recover from the damage we’ve done.

That is why the Liberal Democrats are proposing a radical plan that will end the UK’s addiction to plastic. By banning all non-essential non-recyclable single-use plastics within the first three years of a Liberal Democrat government we will stop huge amounts of plastic pollution.

Under the Liberal Democrats, no plastic put into a bin in the UK will end up in our oceans. By declaring a war on plastic the Liberal Democrats will ensure a brighter future for our planet.

The average UK home produces 1.1kg of waste every day and the duty should be placed on retailers to ensure that this is reduced.

The Liberal Democrats would introduce a three-year target obliging retailers and other businesses to make their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or eliminate it all together, starting with hard-to-recycle items, such as black plastic.

The UK government announced to a deposit return scheme in 2018, but it is currently due to be implemented by 2023, we need this sooner if we’re to start to tackle plastic pollution. Liberal Democrats would push for a UK wide scheme, modelled on the Scottish scheme that is due to start next year.

The Liberal Democrats deposit return scheme would include all food and drinks containers – aiming to end the 15 million bottles that are littered, landfilled and incinerated daily in the UK and reducing the £778 million a year we spend clearing plastic litter.

In 2018 the UK exported 0.6 million tonnes of plastic waste. Many countries cannot process all the waste it receives and often it is contaminated or low-grade plastic – it therefore often ends up in landfill, defeating the purpose of exporting it abroad.

The Liberal Democrats would ensure any revenue raised from the deposit return scheme and the Government’s levy of virgin plastic would be invested in recycling infrastructure in the UK.

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  • John Marriott 27th Nov '19 - 3:58pm

    That bottle return scheme is a great idea. When I was growing up in the 1950s we used to have Corona, who delivered pop in glass bottles with pressure caps and collected the empties each week. Like milk bottles they were washed and reused. Then we used to collect other empty pop bottles and take them back to the shop to collect the (old) penny deposit. They had a similar system with stubby glass beer bottles in Canada when I lived there in the early 1970s. Can’t wait!

  • Yousuf Farah 27th Nov '19 - 4:16pm

    So Lib Dems are proposing a war on Man City and Chelsea fans?

  • Jonathan Linin 27th Nov '19 - 5:55pm

    Good. But manufacturers and retailers have to take responsibility. I, like many people am happy to recycle, but I only have to do that because I have no option but to buy plastic wrapped items. The first step is to ensure all plastics used by retailers are recyclable, so no black plastic containers (can’t be picked up by recycling machines), no plastic labels (found on just about everything now). Deposit schemes for cans, tins and bottles are great but need to be done across all retailers (I want to able to take all my bottles to the next supermarket I use, not have to wait weeks until I next use the supermarket in the next town!).
    But this just a start point. Let’s get stuck into air pollution, built in obsolescence in electrics etc etc etc

    As for other policy ideas; how about going back to banning gambling adverts ?

  • Peter Hirst 28th Nov '19 - 2:23pm

    We could invest more in plastics that are made from organic matter and are biodegradable. The issue is that the public think it’s all too complicated and so a complete ban is simpler. A clear, large grading system colour coded would help and avoid the need for banning all plastic.

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