Labour pledges to ‘take on’ the plastic crisis

The Labour Party’s 2019 manifesto outlines plans to end the export of plastic waste and to back a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks bottles.

Entitled ‘It’s Time for Real Change’, the manifesto was launched by Jeremy Corbyn in Birmingham yesterday (21 November), and includes a number of proposals to tackle plastic pollution and protect the environment.

A screenshot of Labour's 2019 manifesto
The Labour Party's 2019 manifesto

The party has pledged to end exports of plastic waste (a proposal also included in the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto), encourage more sustainable design and manufacture by making producers cover the full costs of dealing with the waste they create and to introduce a DRS for drinks bottles – though whether such a DRS would just cover plastic bottles or other materials and containers was not stated. The party also aims to invest in steel recycling by building three new recyclable steel plants.

Drawing upon the success of Wales’ recycling performance, the manifesto states that a Labour Government will learn from Wales’ success to improve recycling across the UK.

According to the manifesto, Labour aims to restore local authority spending to 2010 levels over the lifetime of the Parliament. The party also says it will act to bring council services, including bin collections, back in-house within the next Parliament. Regarding local authority funding, the Labour Party will introduce a ‘rural-proofing’ process so that all laws, policies and programmes consider the impact on rural communities.

With regard to food waste, the manifesto outlines the scale of the problem: ‘A quarter of all food purchased is wasted each year, equivalent to over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, costing over £20 billion.’

The Labour Party aims to tackle this by pledging to work with local councils to minimise the amount of food thrown away, whilst also establishing a Right to Food to ‘end foodbank Britain’.

Jeremy Corbyn at Labour's manifesto launch in Birmingham

Speaking at the manifesto launch event, Corbyn highlighted the importance of climate action: “Labour will transform our economy so that no one is held back and no community is neglected. And that transformation will be a green transformation.

“The scale of climate breakdown is huge. Our response must be on a scale to match. So, as it says in our manifesto, Labour will create one million new green jobs as part of a Green Industrial Revolution.”

The manifesto’s environmental proposals also include measures to introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill, setting out in law binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection. Labour also plans to launch a Climate Apprenticeship programme to deliver training for green jobs.

You can read the manifesto in full on the Labour Party website

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