Government

Lib Dems pledge to eliminate non-recyclable single-use plastics within three years

Liberal Democrats' 2019 manifesto
Liberal Democrats' 2019 manifesto
The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will implement a ban on all non-recyclable single-use plastics, aiming for complete elimination within three years, at the party’s manifesto launch yesterday (20 November).

The party’s manifesto for the coming general election, entitled ‘Stop Brexit, build a brighter future’, also outlines plans to introduce a 70 per cent statutory recycling target in England, end plastic waste exports by 2030 and extend separate food waste collections to at least 90 per cent of homes by 2024.

As the document’s title suggests, much of the Liberal Democrats’ 2019 manifesto focuses on revoking Article 50 to stop Brexit and remain in the EU, and the party says it will use the UK’s role in the EU to tackle the climate emergency by setting a binding EU-wide net zero target of 2050.

Commenting on the prospect of leaving the European Union, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said: “We know that will be bad for our economy, bad for our NHS and bad for our environment.”

The manifesto, which was officially launched in Camden, London, yesterday criticises the Conservative Government’s record on the climate and includes a legally binding target to reduce the UK’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 and a ten-year emergency programme to set the UK on the path to carbon neutrality.

The party says it will establish a Department for Climate Change and Natural Resources and appoint a cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury to coordinate government-wide climate action. The department would increase government expenditure on climate and environmental objectives, reaching at least five per cent of the total within five years.

In terms of resources and waste, the Lib Dems plan to introduce a 70 per cent statutory recycling target in England, a policy that has been part of the party’s manifesto for the past two general elections, though a target date has not been specified. The UK is currently beholden to targets set by the EU’s Circular Economy Package, which commits EU member states to achieving a recycling rate of 55 per cent by 2025, 60 per cent by 2030 and 65 per cent by 2035.

In addition to the proposed ban on single-use plastics, ban on waste exports and introduction of separate food waste collections to every household, the Lib Dems will also extend the forthcoming EU ‘right to repair’ legislation for consumer goods, improving accessibility to product repair, reuse and recycling, as well as extend deposit return schemes to all food and drink bottles and containers, working with the devolved administrations to ensure consistency across the UK.

You can read the full ‘Stop Brexit, build a brighter future’ manifesto on the Liberal Democrats’ website.

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