Thank you for contacting me about plastic waste and the Environment Act.
The Environment Act requires the Government to set at least one long-term, legally binding target within a number of the highest priority areas for environmental improvement, including Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction. Draft regulations setting this target will be laid before Parliament by October 2022. These targets will be set following a robust, evidence-led process that includes seeking independent expert advice, a role for stakeholders and the public, and approval from Parliament subject to the affirmative procedure. Ministers want to set a Resources and Waste target that ensures a holistic approach to all materials and they believe that setting a wider reaching target that encompasses plastics as well as other materials will achieve the best environmental outcome. The Government recently consulted on the first suite of targets, including resource efficiency and waste reduction, and is currently analysing the responses.
These measures, alongside others within the Act, form a package of powers that will help incentivise and shift the market towards more reusable alternatives. This will make both businesses and citizens more aware of the environmental costs of the products they use. I am assured that ministers will continue to review the latest evidence in partnership with stakeholders, including the Waste and Resources Action Programme and the UK Plastics Pact, on problematic products to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic items.
Thank you again for contacting me.