Closed petition Ban the use of all non-recyclable and unsustainable food packaging

Today the Earth is at a crisis point due to our plastic consumption, and as a result, people in the UK are more willing than ever to engage in recycling. Yet so much food packaging remains completely, frustratingly unrecyclable. Let's aim for the UK to lead the world with a 100% recycling rate.

More details

Every day we send to landfill, to decompose over thousands of years:
Cereal box inner bags
Peel-off film (fruit and veg punnets/ready meals/yoghurt pots)
Almost all plastic supermarket fruit and veg packets
Crisp packets
Sweets wrappers
Chocolate bar wrappers
Styrofoam
Vacuum pack plastic
-to name a few
The British public WANTS to recycle but we can't get away from the vast amounts of waste that poorly designed packaging creates- appoint people to design alternatives and the UK will thank you!

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 24 June 2019

Packaging   daniel zeichner mp   petitions

Government responded

This response was given on 18 June 2019

Our Strategy sets out plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste. We have consulted on proposals to incentivise producers to make more sustainable packaging design choices and recyclable packaging.

Read the response in full

Most food packaging is technically recyclable, though the current market does not make all recycling economically viable. The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England published in December last year sets out our plans to reduce plastic pollution and move towards a more circular economy. This builds on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. For the most problematic plastics we are going faster, which is why we commit to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Our general approach is to help people and companies make the right choice and develop alternatives, rather than move to banning items outright. There are circumstances when a ban is appropriate as part of a wider strategic approach. We have already banned the sale of plastic microbeads, will be banning the supply of plastic drinking straws, stirrers and plastic stemmed cotton buds from April 2020 in England, and are assessing the impact of banning other single-use plastic items. We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products including problematic packaging materials, in line with our commitment to match and where economically practicable exceed the ambition of the EU in this regard.

Our priority is to prevent or reduce waste in the first place. The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations already require businesses to ensure that all their packaging does not exceed what is needed to make sure that the products are safe, hygienic and acceptable for both the packed product and for the consumer. As part of the Resources and Waste Strategy, we have committed to review the effectiveness of these Regulations by the end of next year. These Regulations apply to those responsible for the packing or filling of products into packaging and those importing packed or filled packaging into the UK from elsewhere.

On 18 February, the Government launched several consultations to overhaul the waste system. This includes proposals to reform packaging waste regulations to financially incentivise packaging producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products. We also consulted on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and increasing consistency in recycling collections. We also consulted on introducing a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content. These consultations closed on 13 May. We are analysing the responses and will publish the government’s response in due course.

The reforms to the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations will require producers to fund the full net-cost of managing the packaging they place on the market, once it becomes waste. This creates an incentive for companies to use less packaging and to ensure that their packaging can be recycled at end of life as it will reduce their costs in complying with the Regulations. We will also ensure that producer fees fund a move to a system where a nationally agreed set of packaging materials are collected and where it is easier for consumers to know what packaging they can recycle, through improved communication campaigns and packaging labelling.

We have set out in our consultation options for how we want to enhance the incentive for producers to make better, more sustainable packaging design choices. The options are for a modulated fee system or a deposit fee system. These options provide a financial incentive for producers, in addition to the full-net cost fees, to move towards using more easily recycled packaging materials and formats. To support this we want to introduce an “approved list”. This list will set out what packaging materials are recyclable.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/232684)

Other parliamentary business

Original Government response.

Our Strategy sets out plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste. We are consulting on proposals to incentivise producers to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their packaging.

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England published in December last year sets out our plans to reduce plastic pollution and move towards a more circular economy. This builds on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. For the most problematic plastics we are going faster, which is why we commit to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Our priority is to prevent or reduce waste in the first place. The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations already require businesses to ensure that all their packaging does not exceed what is needed to make sure that the products are safe, hygienic and acceptable for both the packed product and for the consumer. As part of the Resources and Waste Strategy, we have committed to review the effectiveness of these Regulations by the end of next year. These Regulations apply to those responsible for the packing or filling of products into packaging and those importing packed or filled packaging into the UK from elsewhere.

On 18 February, the Government launched several consultations to overhaul the waste system. This includes proposals to reform packaging waste regulations to financially incentivise packaging producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products. We are also consulting on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and increasing consistency in recycling collections. We are also consulting on introducing a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content. More information and the opportunity to respond can be found online at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/resource-and-waste-and-plastic-packaging-tax-consu-1

The reforms to the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations will require producers to fund the full net-cost of managing the packaging they place on the market, once it becomes waste. This creates an incentive for companies to use less packaging and to ensure that their packaging can be recycled at end of life as it will reduce their costs in complying with the Regulations. We will also ensure that producer fees fund a move to a system where a nationally agreed set of packaging materials are collected and where it is easier for consumers to know what packaging they can recycle, through improved communication campaigns and packaging labelling.

We have set out in our consultation options for how we want to enhance the incentive for producers to make better packaging design choices. The options are for a modulated fee system or a deposit fee system. These options provide a financial incentive for producers, in addition to the full-net cost fees, to move towards using more easily recycled packaging materials and formats. To support this we want to introduce an “approved list”. This list will set out what packaging materials are recyclable.

Biodegradable materials that degrade fully without causing harm in the natural environment or creating issues with the reprocessing industry would clearly be desirable. Biodegradable materials must, however, be disposed of properly if the benefits of such technologies are to be fully realised. If biodegradable material is put in the domestic waste bin, for example, it is likely to end up in landfill and break down to release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. To consider impacts carefully, as part of the Government’s Bioeconomy Strategy, we will work with UK Research and Innovation and industry to seek evidence on the demand, benefits and implications of a standard for bio-based and biodegradable plastics a call for evidence later this year.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This response was given on 2 April 2019. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

Tell us what you think about plastic food packaging before the e-petition debate, 24 June

Tell us what you think:

This petition will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday 24 June at 4.30pm. Before the debate, we want to know a bit more about what you think.

We'd be grateful if you could complete a short survey about plastic food packaging. There's a story with a link to the survey on Parliament's Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/ukparliament/

Or you can go straight to our short survey here:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TPCB4/

We'll close the survey on Thursday 20 June. Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think.

You can find out more about the Petitions Committee here:

https://www.parliament.uk/petitions-committee

Follow us on Twitter:

@HoCpetitions

MPs want to hear your views on plastic food and drink packaging

A group of MPs called the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) are investigating plastic food and drink packaging. They want to hear your views.

You can get involved in their investigation in two ways.

Visit https://parliament.trydiscourse.com/c/efra-committee to take part in the online discussions until 13th June.

If you have something more complicated to say, you could also send us a longer document. You can do that here:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/plastic-food-and-drink-packaging-17-19/

What is the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee?

The Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee looks at and questions how well the UK Government Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) manages its:

• Expenditure
• Administration
• Policy

It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

You can find out more about the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee on its website:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/

You can follow the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee on Twitter: @CommonsEFRA

This is a House of Commons ‘select committee’. Find out how select committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c&feature=youtu.be