The Labour Party has vowed to end the export of plastic waste and invest in a “new plastics remanufacturing industry”, as part of a series of waste and recycling pledges in its 2019 manifesto.
Launched by Jeremy Corbyn in Birmingham this morning, November 19, the manifesto has a large focus on the environment particularly with regards to renewable energy and carbon emissions.
Specifically for the waste sector, the Labour Party said it will tackle the plastic pollution problem while also making “producers responsible for the waste they create”.
The party has also said it will work with local authorities to reduce food waste and “learn from the Labour government in Wales on how to transform the position of recycling”.
Labour is the third party in England to launch its manifesto this week ahead of the election on 12th December, following that of the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.
It’s thought the Conservative Party will launch a series of snippets from its manifesto before launching the full text nearer the end of the month. The Brexit party aren’t releasing a manifesto.
Touching on producer responsibility legislation, Labour’s manifesto today said: “Waste, including plastic waste, pollutes our land and seas, killing wildlife and contaminating our food. We will make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing.”
It didn’t mention how this would fit in with the Extended Producer Responsibility legislation which was making its way through parliament before it was dissolved.
Similar to that of the Lib Dems, Labour also pledged to “end” the export of plastic waste to “reduce our contribution to ocean pollution” , but didn’t put a timeline on this.
“We’ll also take on the global plastics crisis by investing in a new plastics remanufacturing industry creating thousands of jobs,” the manifesto added.
Another aspect of the manifesto which could impact the waste and recycling sector relates to procurement.
The manifesto explained that the Labour party will use the “power of public procurement to strengthen local jobs and supply chains”.
This includes requiring all companies bidding for public contracts to “recognise trade unions, pay suppliers on time and demonstrate equalities best practice”.
Labour additionally pointed to the Welsh success in recycling as proof that it would be able to boost recycling in the UK, while also throwing its support behind a Deposit Return Scheme.
“In government in Wales, Labour has transformed the position of recycling, placing them in the top five globally for recycling rates,” the manifesto said.
Whilst also pledging to invest in steel recycling, it added: “A UK Labour government will learn from Wales’ example, and will also back bottle-return schemes. We will invest in three new recyclable steel plants in areas with a proud history of steel manufacturing.”
Touching on food waste, the party explained that “a quarter of all food purchased is wasted every year, equivalent to over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, costing over £20 billion”.
“We will make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal”
The party looked to highlight that this coincides with a spike in food banks and malnutrition rates in the country.
Labour also pledged to “work with local councils to minimise food waste” and will also set up a National Food Commission which will tackle hunger and cut down on waste.