Many constituents contacted me urging me to support Greenpeace’s latest campaign, “Help Fix Our Plastic Crisis”.
You can see my response to those constituents and my letter to the Secretary of State below.
“Thank you for contacting me regarding tackling the current global plastic crisis.
There can be no question that the plastic industry has become unsustainable. In 1950, we produced 1.7 million tonnes of plastic a year. Today, we produce a staggering 350 million tonnes. Recent research found at least 14 million tonnes of plastic pieces less than 5mm wide are likely to be sitting at the bottom of the world’s oceans.
Not only this, but worldwide 5 trillion plastic bags are used every year – this shocking figure is equivalent to 160,000 plastic bags every second. Unless we move rapidly to a more circular economy this is going to have devastating effects on future generations.
The ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds that came in last year will not tackle the fundamental crisis at the centre of our throwaway culture. Recently, New Zealand’s Government committed to phasing out problem plastics and some single-use plastics by July 2025, including hard to recycle food and drink packaging made from PVC and polystyrene. This is a relevant example of real responsibility and action being taken. I believe that the collective task of tackling waste, improving recycling rates and taking the steps needed to protect our environment and our planet is one that we must do together.
The Labour Party is dedicated to tackling the plastic pollution problem while also making producers responsible for the waste they create. The party is also committed to working with local authorities to reduce food waste, with aims to learn from the Labour government in Wales on how to transform the position of recycling within our communities.
I will contact the Environment Secretary outlining your below concerns and ask the Government to commit to tackling the plastic crisis. When I receive a response, I will share this with you.
Thank you once again for contacting me regarding this important matter.”