Many constituents have contacted me about plastic waste recently.
I share your concerns, and I think it is scandalous that the UK’s plastic waste rate is second only to the United States. Plastic pollution blights our communities and has a devastating impact on our wildlife. Wales is already a world leader on recycling and I fully support the Welsh Government’s ambition for a Wales free from unnecessary single-use plastics.
I know that plastic pollution affects every environment in Wales, with single-use plastics making up a significant proportion of litter found in our streets, parks and beaches. Therefore, I welcome that the Welsh Government has committed to bringing forward legislation to abolish the use of the more commonly littered single-use plastics.
However, I am very concerned that the UK Government is not acting quickly enough on the issue of exporting plastic waste as we cannot keep shipping our problem away. People expect to see these exports banned, more recycling taking place at home and faster action on the climate crisis. This is an issue I have campaigned on for several years and in 2019 I introduced a Bill to the House of Commons with proposals to make producers fully responsible for the recycling of their products, and prevent waste being shipped overseas. Unfortunately, the Tory Government did not support my proposals but I continue to press the UK Government on this issue.
I am very pleased that the Welsh Government has said it wants to significantly reduce the reliance on overseas markets to recycle the plastic waste collected here. I also welcome the Welsh Government working with industry and local authorities to develop new infrastructure to increase the sorting and repossessing of plastic waste in Wales.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue. I can assure you that I will continue to call for urgent action.