The Queen’s speech has set out the UK’s intention to ban on the export of plastic waste to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
This a “step in the right direction” said a spokesperson for waste management firm Biffa.
“We welcome the renewed focus on the environment in the Queen’s speech today and believe the ban on the export of plastic waste to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a step in the right direction.”
The OECD has 36 member countries, the majority of which are in Europe.
ESA fully supports the principle of responsible export, and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the proposed ban goes hand-in-hand with other measures to stimulate domestic demand for recyclable materials
The Queen said in her speech: “To protect and improve the environment for future generations, a bill will enshrine in law the environmental principles and legally binding targets, including for air quality.
“It will also ban the export of polluting plastic waste to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and establish a new world-leading independent regulator in statute.”
David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, urged the Government to “maintain the momentum” behind the Environment Bill to “bring about the systemic change needed that will ultimately see businesses radically alter their entire approach to waste, designing in recovery and re-use of the materials used in their products.”
“There remains a collective desire from the public, business and local authorities to have in place an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme that fulfils the polluter pays principle,” he added.
“With EPR we will be better placed to moved towards clearer labelling of goods for recycling, and the previous Conservative Government’s clearly stated desire for deposit return schemes for plastic bottles and cans and for greater consistency in waste and recycling collections.”
Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler, said that for many in the resources sector “this will feel like Groundhog Day”, with a Queens Speech announcing a new environmental legislation for the second time in nine weeks – including steps to meet net zero carbon by 2050, legally binding targets on air quality, and the establishment of a ‘world leading independent regulator’ for the environment.
“However, this time, it also included reference to a ban on the export of plastic outside of the OECD, which was included in the Conservative manifesto,” he said.
“On this latter point, ESA fully supports the principle of responsible export, and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the proposed ban goes hand-in-hand with other measures to stimulate domestic demand for recyclable materials, and the delivery of new infrastructure; and that it ensures good recyclable material is not sent for disposal.
“It would seem that we are finally entering a period of political stability, and ESA members will no doubt be pleased that the new Government is wasting no time in cracking on with a legislative agenda to deliver on its pledges for the environment, even if the timeline is ultimately being driven by the Government’s desire to exit the EU by the end of January.”