Labour manifesto pledges to ban plastic exports

Written by: Maddie Ballard | Published:

Labour’s general election manifesto has pledged to ban plastic exports and invest in a new domestic plastics remanufacturing infrastructure, in a push to redefine how the UK manages its waste.

The manifesto, which was released this week, outlines Labour’s plans to “take on the global plastics crisis”.

In a chapter titled A Green Industrial Revolution, the party said it would “make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing”.

The manifesto also announced Labour’s intention to back deposit return schemes (DRS), invest in three new recyclable steel plants, and revolutionise the UK’s recycling system learning from Wales, which has a global top-five recycling rate.

In A Green Industrial Revolution, the Labour party said “this election is our best hope to protect future generations from an uninhabitable planet” and promised that Labour “will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform our industry, energy, transport, agriculture and our buildings, while restoring nature”.

The party’s Green New Deal aims to reduce energy emissions by 77% by 2030 compared with 2010.

Aside from waste, the chapter set out substantial targets for energy, aiming to put the UK on track for 90% of electricity and 50% of heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030.

The party said it would invest in district heat networks using waste heat, build 9,000 on- and offshore wind turbines, upgrade almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards, and permanently ban fracking.

Labour has pledged to maintain EU environmental regulation standards and introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill which would set out binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality, and habitats and species protection.

The party also said it would begin a tree-planting programme and create new National Parks - on top of funding the Environment Agency (EA) and other frontline environment agencies.

Jacob Hayler, executive director at the Environmental Services Agency (ESA), said: "Although Labour’s position on recycling and waste occupies just three paragraphs of a manifesto exceeding one hundred pages, it is comforting to see that cross-party support exists for full-cost extended producer responsibility.

“This policy, currently proposed as part of Defra’s Resources & Waste Strategy, is a fundamental driving force towards higher recycling rates and a more resource-efficient, sustainable, economy, and will have a profound impact on the way recycling and waste services are delivered.”

The Conservative manifesto is yet to be launched.

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