Of the seven major parties looked at by Greenpeace in regards to plastic reduction targets, the Green Party came out on top

Manifestos from the UK’s two major parties, Labour and the Conservatives, are lacking in plastic reduction targets, according to Greenpeace.

Ahead of the country’s upcoming general election, the environmental charity has looked at the country’s seven major political parties’ policies surrounding the material.

Though Labour’s overall manifesto came second in regards to its overall green policies, its plans for plastic put the party in fourth place.

Greenpeace UK believes the Conservatives fall short on issues such as plastic waste exports and the deposit return scheme (DRS), as well as having no reduction plans.

The charity’s political campaigner Sam Chetan-Welsh said: “We’re in a climate emergency yet oil companies are investing more money to produce more plastic.

“Supermarkets are pumping out more plastic than ever before, and ultimately it ends up as trash that we struggle to get rid of or recycle.

“The time to act is now, and to achieve real change beyond piecemeal action from retailers the government has to step in.

These manifestos show varying levels of ambition, ranging from genuine forward-thinking ideas in line with tackling the plastic pollution crisis, to complete silence.

“We urge voters, if plastic matters to you, to ask your local candidate what they plan to do about it.”

The Green Party ranks highest when it comes to plastic reduction

To rank where each of the seven main political parties sit when it comes to tackling plastic, Greenpeace looked into four proposed reduction policies. These were:

  • A commitment to radically reduce the use of single-use plastic in law
  • A DRS for all drinks containers
  • Making producers pay to clean up their own waste (EPR)
  • Wider circular economy plans – waste exports, infrastructure, resource efficiency etc.

The environmental charity then gave a score between zero and one, depending on how well or poorly each party has committed in each area.

greenpeace plastic
Of the seven parties’ manifesto pledges around plastic reduction looked at by Greenpeace, the Green Party came out on top (Credit: Wikimedia, DarwIn, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User: DarwIn)

Out of the seven, Greenpeace said the Green Party had the best plans around plastic, due to its proposed ban on single-use plastic and its “forward-thinking” policies in reducing plastic production.

The Welsh national party Plaid Cymru came in second place, mainly due to the party’s plan to ban single-use plastic and make Wales a zero-waste nation by 2030.

The party hasn’t, however, committed to an all-inclusive DRS for plastic bottles and cans.

In third place was the Liberal Democrats, which has committed to legally-binding plastic reduction targets and a Zero Waste and Resource Efficiency Act, which would see the party strengthen incentives to reduce packaging.

But Greenpeace added that the party falls short when it comes to EPR, which the charity believes should be a vital component of any proposed law on plastic pollution.

Labour’s has allocated £4.5bn ($5.9bn) for recycling infrastructure through its Plan for Nature.

But due to its failure to make specific plans for plastic reduction or for system change towards reusable and refillable packaging sees the party placed into fourth on Greenpeace’s league table.

The Scottish National Party ranked fifth as, although it’s committed to an all-inclusive DRS system, many of the party’s policies are simply replicate measures already introduced under EU law, according to the charity.

Greenpeace critical of the absence of support of all-inclusive deposit return scheme in the Conservative Party manifesto, a policy which was backed by former Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

However, the charity does say it includes promising plans to make plastic producers pay the bill for cleaning up their waste.

Bottom of Greenpeace’s table was the Brexit Party, which it said featured vague commitments to ban waste exports, but presented no viable path for the future on plastics.