Carmichael responds to PM remarks that recycling “doesn’t work”

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called on the government to reconsider his Plastic Pollution Bill and amendments to the Environment Bill to tackle plastic pollution, after the Prime Minister admitted that reducing plastic pollution is far more important than recycling. Boris Johnson said that recycling plastic “doesn’t work” as he argued that we need to reduce the amount of the material that is used, during a press conference with children in Downing Street on Monday. He told them that “recycling isn’t the answer. Recycling... it doesn’t begin to address the problem” and that “the only answer” was “to cut down on our use of plastic.”

Mr Carmichael reintroduced the Plastic Pollution Bill earlier this year, which would set legally binding targets for ministers to cut plastic pollution in the UK.

Responding to the remarks, Mr Carmichael said:

“For once I do not entirely disagree with something Boris Johnson says – cutting plastic pollution directly is far more important than recycling alone. We need to try to recycle as much of the waste that we have but the long-term goal needs to be to reducing the use of plastics. It rather begs the question, however, as to when and how this government plans to achieve that reduction.

“Ministers have rejected – time and again – amendments to the Environment Bill to set tough targets on plastic pollution. They have refused to consider standalone legislation like my Plastic Pollution Bill, which would have set legally binding goals for ministers to follow on plastic production and waste. They cannot keep postponing legislative action.

“Plastic pollution is a problem that we all share from the cities to the isles and so a wide-reaching response is needed. The Prime Minister inadvertently got to the truth today in admitting to the problem with plastics. It remains to be seen if there will be any fresh action to back his words up.”

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