Labour debates single-use vape and plastic carrier bag ban


Discarded single-use vape

At the party conference yesterday, Labour MPs and members debated proposals for new plastic bans to come into force every year for a decade, which would ban plastic vapes, sachets, bags and bottles.

A series of fourteen new plastic bans could be implemented by a Labour government under proposals unveiled at the Labour party conference by campaigners A Plastic Planet.

The series of bans proposed include banning single-use vapes by March 2024, plastic wrappings around all fruit and vegetables by October 2024, and all plastic carrier bags including “bags for life” by October 2025.

The Reuse, Refill, Replace Revolution report was launched at the Labour Conference at a special meeting hosted by A Plastic Planet and Barry Gardiner MP. A Plastic Planet uses the report to set out how it believes alternative, natural materials and new reusable packaging systems can replace plastics.

A century ago, plastic was a miracle. Today, plastic is a menace.

Writing in a foreword to the report, Labour MP and former Shadow Environment Secretary, Barry Gardiner, said: “A century ago, plastic was a miracle. Today, plastic is a menace. A material as long-lasting as diamonds has been mass-produced to such an extent that it is as cheap as paper.

“The result is a mismatch of material to purpose, with this ‘forever material’ deployed for throwaway applications. Labour is committed to a fairer, greener future. This roadmap to a plastic-free Britain – leading not following – is a timely blueprint for how to get there.”

The report also calls for the plastic packaging tax to increase from £210 to £500 per tonne and to raise the exemption threshold from 30% to 50% recycled content.

The ten-year programme of bans would also see “hidden plastics” taken out of seed coatings, flame retardants and paint over the next decade.

Banning plastics works because it gives industry certainty.

The proposals include compelling supermarkets to dedicate 25% of their floor space to returnable and refillable products by deploying standardised permanent packaging across competitive brands and retailers, which could then be returned to thousands of drop-off points.

The group’s co-founder Sian Sutherland, commented: “Banning plastics works because it gives industry certainty. Just look at what happened on plastic cutlery in the run-up to the ban coming into force this month – the market moved and alternatives are already the new normal.

“Through clear decisive action with a well-defined road map, ministers can make the UK a world leader in alternative materials and systems. A post-plastic economy is rich with opportunity, but it won’t happen without strong policy.”

The full series of bans proposed is:

  • Single-use vapes by March 2024.
  • Plastic wrappings around all fruit and vegetables by October 2024.
  • Plastic thermoformed “clam packs” used to package products such as torches, razors and batteries by March 2025.
  • Single-use plastic sachets and all plastic carrier bags including so-called “bags for life” by October 2025.
  • Washing machines without microplastic filters by March 2026.
  • Single-use plastic pots, tubs and trays in food produce by October 2026.
  • Single-use bottles and flexible plastic pouches in home and personal care by March 2027.
  • Agricultural plastics such as mulch film by October 2027.
  • Single-use plastic bottles for beverages from October 2028.
  • Exports of plastic-based clothing made from such materials as polyester by October 2029.
  • Plastic seed coatings by October 2030.
  • Plastic flame retardants by October 2031.
  • Plastics in paint by October 2032.
  • Plastics in construction by October 2033.

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