‘No sense of direction’ to Defra’s actions to reduce packaging waste, says EAC

‘No sense of direction’ to Defra’s actions to reduce packaging waste, says EAC

The Environmental Audit Committee has criticised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for a lack of action on packaging waste, with Chair Mary Creagh accusing the government of having “no real sense of direction” in its approach to tackling packaging waste.

The committee spoke to Resources Minister Therese Coffey, along with Chris Preston, Defra’s Deputy Director for Waste and Recycling, and focused on Defra’s actions to tackle the impact of plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups. Topics covered included the UK’s packaging responsibility system, the prospect of a deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles and the upcoming Chinese ban on waste imports and its effect on the UK.

Coffey claimed China’s actions might stimulate the UK market, and that Defra has “encouraged the industry to provide the capacity that they believe we need”, an answer committee member and Green Party Co-Leader Caroline Lucas dismissed as “lackadaisical”.

The entire evidence session with Coffey can be heard in full on the Environmental Audit Committee’s website.