MP calls for more investment in UK waste recycling

Sandy Martin MP Picture: NK

Sandy Martin MP Picture: NK - Credit: Archant

Ipswich MP and Labour environment spokesman Sandy Martin called for more waste to be recycled in Britain with less being sent abroad during a debate at Westminster this week.

And he also called for more government support to encourage drinks firms to reintroduce bottle deposit schemes – recalling how his first political campaign had been an attempt to stop Corona from ending its returnable bottles.

Speaking in the debate in Westminster Hall, Mr Martin said: “Since China started refusing the UK’s poor quality recylables and waste in 2018, the UK has been exporting waste to countries with some of the highest levels of ocean plastic pollution.

“Some south-east Asian countries are also moving towards a ban.

“So we need to encourage the UK to be more responsible for our waste closer to home, and to recycle in the UK – not export our waste.

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“We need to take the opportunity of the current political support to drive a green transformation into an efficient and productive green economy with new green jobs.”

Earlier Mr Martin had said that offering refunds on glass bottles was the most effective way of improving recycling. In Germany compulsory refund schemes meant it had one of the highest recycling levels in the world.

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He said: “We had extensive deposit schemes in the past. In fact, I can remember the first time I ever got involved in any sort of political campaigning, when I was at school, we tried to persuade Corona not to stop using a deposit for its bottles.

“It did stop, and went out of business – you can put two and two together!”

He also warned that it was not enough for plastic manufacturers to just claim that their materials were recyclable – government and industry needed to ensure there were facilities to carry out the recycling and that people used them.

While most councils actively organised recycling, this was expensive and many were finding it increasingly difficult during the government’s austerity programme.

He added: “All this costs money, and if we are going to increase our recycling rate at all we will need the people who do the work – the collection authorities, the disposal authorities, and the recycling plant – to be economically viable.”

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