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MPs call for binding targets to end plastic pollution as UN talks begin

28 November 2022

MPs on the UK House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have renewed their call for a global treaty with legally binding targets to end worldwide plastic pollution as new UN talks on the subject open in Uruguay today.  

The talks in Uruguay are under the auspices of the UN Environment Agency. They are the first meeting of the Agency’s International Negotiating Committee and are aimed at forging a legally binding consensus, by 2024, on how to end plastics pollution.  

The House of Commons committee - a cross-party group which scrutinises government on behalf of Parliament - launched a report this month on what to do about the major and growing issue of plastic waste.   

Anticipating the talks now getting underway in Uruguay, one of the key recommendations of the report was that the UK government plays a leading role in the negotiations by pushing for legally binding targets to be included in the treaty. The report also called on the UK to ban all exports of plastic waste.   

We have published a brief, illustrated summary of the committee’s report, published today as the UN talks begin. You can also read the full written report which has been published.   

The UK itself currently produces over 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste alone, and exports over 60% of this for other countries to deal with. Some of this waste can end up being burned or dumped abroad, adding to the plastic pollution problem.  

To resolve this issue, as well as calling for an end to the export of plastic waste, the committee report called for more efforts to reduce the amount of plastic consumed in the UK and for increased capacity to recycle it domestically. The government is due to respond to the committee’s report in early 2023. 

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