Single-Use Plastic
Single-Use Plastic

Thank you for contacting me regarding single-use plastic and the urgent need to reduce our dependence on plastic.

During the passage of the Environment Act 2021, I voted to require the Government to set a target to reduce waste, including plastics. Disappointingly, it voted this down.

I fully support an all-in deposit return scheme for drinks containers of all sizes and materials. They achieve the best recycling return and are the clearest system for members of the public to use. I believe we are unlikely to achieve the sort of change and progress that our planet desperately needs without buy-in from the public. I further believe an all-in scheme is the most likely to offer opportunities for scaling up to a future refill system.

As you will know, the Government held a consultation in 2019 and stated it was minded to introduce a DRS from 2023. However, it recently launched a further consultation, which closed on 4 June 2021, to explore the continued appetite for a scheme, saying the introduction of a DRS would be in late 2024 at the earliest.

I share concerns about persistent delays to the introduction of a DRS and believe the public would like to see this introduced more quickly.

More widely, I believe the plastic industry has become unsustainable. In 1950, we produced 1.7 million tonnes of plastic a year. Today, we produce a staggering 350 million tonnes. Recent research found at least 14 million tonnes of plastic pieces less than 5mm wide are likely to be sitting at the bottom of the world’s oceans. Unless we move rapidly to a more circular economy this will have devastating effects on future generations.

I also supported Labours amendments to the Environment Bill to permit potential charges on any single-use material. I worry that focusing only on plastics risks shifting the environmental burden, as the deeper problem lies with the single-use, throwaway culture.

Following Labours amendment in the House of Lords, the Government has now expanded the Bill to permit charges on any single-use material. I welcome this positive step and am glad the Government has listened to concerns raised about the throwaway economy and culture.

I believe tackling waste, improving recycling rates and protecting our environment and our planet are tasks we must do together but I am concerned the Government’s plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 is years behind schedule.

Furthermore I have recently launched a new project where I am using a radical new digital platform called Pol.Is to change the political debate, right here in Sheffield about climate change. works in the opposite way to social media – by helping people work out what they have in common rather than divides them. It asks people to give their views, then uses artificial intelligence to work out what they share in common with other people before finally helping everyone to share and refine their own viewpoints, with the goal of getting more people to agree with them.

Building on last year’s Big Green Conversation, where Sheffield residents and businesses gave their views on what needed to be done both locally and nationally to tackle climate change, I want to work with even more local people to help develop solutions to the issues the Big Green Conversation identified.

At a time when some favour radical action, others remain sceptical and different generations don’t see eye to eye on the environment, business or local priorities, I hope to work with communities to break the deadlock and chart a shared path to a sustainable future. That’s where you come in.

I want as many people as possible to engage with this conversation. If we’re going to move forward to address the major issues of the day, then we need to build consensus. I’m asking people to please be as radical, off-the-wall or cautious as they like, we want this to be a space where everyone feels free to say what they think, and we can build a programme for change together.

So please have your say!

For more details about the platform visit:

To take part in the conversation and share ideas visit:

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