Mrs Pow was responding to a written parliamentary question from Conservative MP Stuart Anderson as to what steps the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was taking to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging.
She said extended producer responsibility (EPR) would place the cost of managing packaging waste on those businesses that place packaged goods on the UK market.
In a written response, Mrs Pow also told Mr Anderson: “For plastic that is used in packaging, we want more of it to be recycled.
“Producers will be required to meet higher plastic packaging recycling targets and through our measures that we are consulting on currently for more consistent recycling collections in England, all households and businesses will be able to recycle rigid plastic packaging.
“We are also consulting on the inclusion of plastic film and flexible plastic packaging in the core set of materials for collection in England.”
Defra launched its delayed consultation on consistent collections in England on 7 May (see letsrecycle.com story). The consultation closes on 4 July.
Plastic waste exports
On the same day Mrs Pow said the UK government was committed to banning the export of plastic waste for recycling to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Mrs Pow’s response was prompted by a question from Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who asked whether Defra was taking steps to ensure that waste sent abroad to be recycled was recycled.
Mrs Pow said that the government would consult on the ban and that work was underway to “make this happen”.
She said: “Under the UK legislation on waste shipments, businesses involved in the export of wastes are required to take all necessary steps to ensure that the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.
“All waste exports need to be made in accordance with the relevant legislation and we have a system of inspections in place to verify compliance. The Environment Agency mounts targeted inspections at UK ports working with the shipping sector to help detect and prevent illegal waste shipments. Recycling facilities in other countries are permitted and regulated by that country’s authorities.”