Labour 'committed’ to moving towards a circular economy

Labour Party's 2024 election manifesto pledges to reduce waste by transitioning to a circular economy, but the document offers little detail on how this will be achieved.

Kier StarmerIn putting forward its offer to the British public, Labour has said it ‘is committed to reducing waste by moving to a circular economy,’ while offering no specific measures on what this will look like.

The manifesto also pledges to allocate £1 billion to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technology, which comes at a time when the waste industry is heavily investing in carbon capture solutions.

Samantha Harding, Executive Director at Reloop, commented on the publication of the manifesto:"It's really positive to see Labour committing to a circular economy as the best way to reduce waste and pollution. If Labour form the new government in July, they have the perfect opportunity to start delivering on that, by introducing the planned deposit return system on schedule by October 2027. Without this proven circular economy measure, our recycling levels will continue to flat-line while litter levels rise."

However, other industry leaders have expressed disappointment in the lack of attention given to pressing issues like plastic pollution. Jane Martin, CEO of City to Sea, said: "Britain's waterways, green spaces and cities are littered with plastic but the word sadly isn't mentioned in Labour's 133 page manifesto."

City to Sea points to the need for legally binding targets. "Recent research carried out amongst UK consumers found three-quarters agreed it should be a government priority to tackle plastic pollution, but no party seems to be listening. Across the board, from the main parties this week we have seen a set of watered-down mentions around plastic and reuse but it's clear to see, no one has taken a stand on the plastic problem. Where are the commitments to plastic bans, the quick implementation of an 'all-in' Deposit Return Scheme and the transition away from single-use packaging to refill and reuse?"

Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet, called the manifesto launches a ‘missed opportunity for real environmental leadership’, criticised the lack of commitments to plastic bans and the focus on recycling policies, essentially ‘putting a plaster on a gaping wound.