Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Reducing avoidable plastic waste - incentives, targets, and policy priorities

Morning, Tuesday, 3rd December 2019

Central London


Delegates will assess what has been learnt so far, what more can be done to achieve the targets, latest thinking on alternative approaches, and the impact on industry, local government and households.

We expect discussion to reflect key issues emerging from the major consultations related to the Strategy on:

The agenda and keynote speakers

  • One year on from the Resources and Waste Strategy for England - with Dawn Woodward, Deputy Head, Resource and Waste, Defra; and
  • Next steps for plastic waste policy - with Dr Marcus Gover, Chief Executive Officer, WRAP.

Further sessions focus on:

  • Assessing the policy challenges for reducing plastic waste - incentives, extended producer responsibility and the plastic packaging tax;
  • Developing the systems for zero plastic waste: deposit return schemes, consistency in recycling collections and bioplastics; and
  • Case studies - drawing on international models on bottle return schemes and moving towards standardised collections.

Reducing single use plastics and developing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

Delegates will consider the best ways in which to incentivise business practice looking at the future balance of industry-led and government-mandated targets, producer responsibility, and the future role of taxation policy.

It follows the European Parliament approving a ban on all single-use plastic by 2021, and the UK Government announcing a ban on single use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds by April 2020.

Sessions will also examine the challenges and opportunities of introducing a DRS for single use drinks containers following a recent consultation - with discussion expected on the role of industry and local government; driving behaviour change; and what the UK can learn from similar schemes abroad.

Developing infrastructure, waste management systems and supporting innovation

The conference will be an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to consider what more should be done to develop the necessary waste management infrastructure and recycling facilities in the UK to ensure that more and different types of plastics can be recycled.

They will also assess priorities for moving towards more consistent recycling collection schemes in a way which works for businesses, local authorities and environmental service providers.

The role of plastic and packaging innovation - such as bioplastics - will also be assessed and delegates will discuss how best to reduce plastic waste in a way that does not shorten the shelf-life of perishable products, and keeps consumers and businesses engaged.

Keynote Speakers

Dawn Woodward

Deputy Head, Resource and Waste, Defra

Dr Marcus Gover

Chief Executive Officer, WRAP


Simon Tilling

Partner, Burges Salmon and Vice Chair, UKELA

Stuart Hayward-Hingham

Technical Development Director, Suez

Debbie Tripley

Director of Environmental Policy, WWF

Barry Turner

Director, Plastics and Flexible Packaging Group, British Plastics Federation

Paul Mines

Chief Executive Officer, Biome Technologies

Bryony Rothwell

RECAP Partnership Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council