Lib Dems pledge to end plastic exports by 2030

The Liberal Democrats have pledged an ambition of ending plastic exports by 2030 in its manifesto, published this week. 

In the manifesto, the party added that it is committed to working to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 through the UN High Seas Treaty. 

Furthermore, the party has laid out targets for the complete elimination of non-recyclable single-use plastics within three years. 


Another element laid out in the party’s environmental strategy is the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) for food and drink bottles and containers. This scheme will be developed in collaboration with devolved administrations to ensure “consistency” across the UK, learning from the challenges faced by the Scottish scheme. 

Reacting to the manifesto, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) said: “LARAC urges the next government to reconsider its stance on residual waste collection frequencies in England, introduced under Simpler Recycling, to support waste hierarchy principles. Recognising the importance of longer intervals for residual waste collections is vital for achieving recycling targets and reducing overall waste across the UK. 

“The Liberal Democrats’ proposal for a deposit return scheme (DRS) aims for consistency across the UK, learning from the Scottish scheme’s challenges. LARAC supports the DRS initiative but recommends delaying its implementation until after the extended producer responsibility (EPR) and Simpler Recycling reforms are fully operational. Additionally, LARAC advocates for a digital DRS to utilise the existing infrastructure for collecting cans and bottles at kerbside.” 

“LARAC calls for proper funding, clear guidelines and support for local authorities from the next government, as these are crucial for successfully implementing the collection and packaging reform policies. Collaboration between the incoming government and LARAC will ensure these ambitious environmental goals are met, benefiting local communities and the broader environment.” 

Samantha Harding, executive director at Reloop, said: “It’s positive the Liberal Democrats have committed in their manifesto to finally deliver the deposit return scheme that’s been worked on by the UK government for the past six years.  

 “International evidence shows this is a vital reform for jump-starting the UK’s recycling levels which have flat-lined in recent years, as well as reducing pollution in our streets and rivers. To keep the proposed launch in October 2027 on schedule, support from across the political spectrum is vital.” 

Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth, said: “The Liberal Democrats have traditionally been the greenest of the three main political parties and their manifesto will be a tough act for the Labour Party and Conservatives to follow. They have rightly put fairness at the heart of their green plans by promising free insulation and heat pumps for low-income households, cheaper electricity and water bills through a new social tariff to help those struggling most, and an Environmental Rights Act to protect us all, but particularly the most marginalised communities, from pollution.

“At first glance, the party’s manifesto appears to be an impressive document recognising the interconnection of the climate and nature crises with existing societal inequalities and attempts to match both with solutions that speak to the level of ambition required. We look forward to studying its manifesto – and those of all the main parties – in more depth, which we’ll be scoring against our key demands for protecting climate and nature.”

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