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

Submitted by Victoria Strupish on Monday 12th November 2018

Published on Wednesday 5th December 2018

Current status: Closed

Closed: Wednesday 5th June 2019

Signatures: 247,048

Tagged with

British ~ UK

Petition Action

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

Petition Details

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.

Additional Information

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
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!

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 18th 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.

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)

Parliamentary Debate

This petition was debated in Parliament on Monday 24th June 2019

See Debate Details

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