Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for tackling plastic waste in the UK - policy developments, implementation, and industry practice

Morning, Thursday, 8th July 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will assess the priorities and next steps for policy and stakeholders in reducing plastic waste - and supporting green economic recovery in the UK.

The conference will be a timely opportunity to discuss:

  • the measures that need be taken to enhance waste management, and how they can be implemented
  • the development of effective incentive and penalty frameworks
  • priorities for improving domestic recycling capabilities
  • how to drive behaviour change in businesses and households

It is also timed alongside a range of policy developments, including:

  • the Environment Bill - being debated in Parliament, and with measures to tackle plastic waste in the UK and increase the scope of enforcement powers for plastic waste reduction
  • the Waste Management Plan for England - designed to help deliver the priorities for waste and plastic waste outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan and Resource and Waste Strategy
  • the Plastic Packaging Tax - which will apply to plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, and is set to be introduced from April 2022

We are pleased that Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager, WRAP, has agreed to deliver a keynote address at this seminar. Further confirmed speakers include: Jacob Hayler, Executive Director, Environmental Services Association; Libby Peake, Head, resource policy, Green Alliance and Barry Turner, Group Director, Plastic and Flexible Packaging, British Plastics Federation.

The discussion will bring out latest thinking on:

  • the UK Plastics Pact - progress so far, and priorities for meeting the Courtauld Commitment 2025
  • waste management systems - next steps in development and implementation, and priorities for reducing plastic waste
  • the plastics packaging tax - looking at how best to prepare supply
  • long-term policy priorities - looking at what is needed to ensure effective policy into the future

The conference is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; DAERA, NI; Defra; DIT; DfE, NI; the FSA and the Welsh Government.

Key areas for discussion:

Policy priorities for the long term:

  • the Environment Bill:
    • examining proposed measures and the potential for new enforcement powers to support greater plastics management and reduction
    • priorities for setting the right administrator, innovating the use of labelling, and enabling the setting of new rules for the use and costs of single-use plastics
  • tax reform - looking at:
    • opportunities presented by reform for incentivising more efficient practices
    • the potential impact of tax penalties on:
      • increasing the use of recyclable material
      • fostering more sustainable supply chains and the responsible use and consumption of products
      • widening the rate of recycling among UK businesses
  • industry engagement - what is needed to increase involvement and cooperation within supply chains and industry, including:
    • the sharing of industry best practice
    • widening progress of, and participation in, the UK Plastics Pact
    • how future policy might be designed for success
  • COP26 - identifying opportunities for the UK to lead on plastic action and policymaking, and how the event can be best placed for global action

The waste management system:

  • working towards wider priorities - what is needed for creating a waste management system that:
    • is fit for plastics sorting and recycling on a national level
    • works towards ambitions for zero avoidable waste by 2050
  • COVID-19 - looking at priorities for waste management in the wake of the pandemic, including:
    • overcoming the impact of recycling plant closures post-pandemic
    • best practice for restarting recycling services at speed
    • how changes in household and consumer behaviour might impact waste collection and recycling
  • standardising waste management activities:
    • latest thinking on standardisation at a national level
    • what is needed from policy, industry and local government to unify approaches on the local level
  • introducing a deposit return scheme - assessing practical steps for introducing a DRS across the UK, and how challenges can be addressed, including:
    • setting the right administrator
    • overcoming logistical issues with retailers
    • incorporating lessons learned from existing systems in other parts of the UK and abroad


  • priorities - what is on the horizon for innovating plastics and plastic material design, and expanding the more sustainable use of plastics across industry
  • implementation - what is needed for plastic materials as well as commercialising new products, discussing how best to:
    • support research and development
    • reduce costs for manufacture
    • scale up adoption across supply chains
  • delivering extended producer responsibility schemes:
    • latest thinking on how EPR can be implemented effectively
    • setting clarity on producer obligations and who governs the scheme, and keeping full lifecycle costs low

The background:

  • the Environment Bill - setting plans to tackle plastic waste in the UK, including:
    • banning specific types of unrecyclable plastics
    • new powers for national authorities to introduce charges for single-use plastics
    • clearer information on recyclable products to render them more easily identifiable
  • the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) consultation - seeking views on the potential logistical arrangements for establishing an effective DRS across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland by 2024, on:
    • what is needed from engagement with retailers
    • making the scheme accessible for consumers
    • best practice for establishing scheme administrators
  • the Plastic Packaging Tax:
    • intended to be introduced from April 2022
    • to be applied to plastic packaging, both manufactured in or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, earmarked at around £200 per tonne
  • the extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) consultation - seeking views on:
    • potential policy measures for effective system design across developers, consumers and retailers
    • how regulation can lend itself to more recyclable packaging, with a view to introduce an EPR for packaging by 2023
  • Waste Management Plan for England - published earlier this year, with details of the current waste and plastic management practices, and designed to:
    • foster the creation of a common approach across local and regional authorities, businesses and other stakeholders
    • help deliver the priorities around waste and plastic waste outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan and Resource and Waste Strategy
  • new rules for shipping waste plastic for recovery in EU and OECD countries:
    • introduced at the beginning of 2021 to support the enhancement of sustainable supply chains and businesses
    • only permitting the shipping of plastic waste to developed countries under specific circumstances, and putting tighter conditions in place around plastic content

The agenda

  • Progress on the UK Plastics Pact, widening value-chain engagement, and priorities for meeting the Courtauld Commitment 2025
  • Next steps for waste management systems and reducing plastic waste in the UK - restoring services, standardising design and national plastics handling, and working towards zero avoidable waste by 2050
  • Case studies - addressing the policy and logistical challenges for introducing a Deposit Return Scheme and what can be learned from existing systems
  • The forthcoming Plastics Packaging Tax and assessing practical steps for preparing supply chains
  • Examining the future of plastic material development and innovation and for meeting challenges for industry and achieving national reduction targets
    • Next steps for advancing plastic technology, the development of more sustainable materials, and reducing barriers to industry adoption
    • Priorities for plastics innovation and strategies for commercialisation - meeting  retailer and supply chain needs and operating within Extended Producer Responsibility schemes
    • What is needed from policy and industry practice for meeting national plastic waste reduction targets, and to demonstrate UK leadership at COP26
  • Policy priorities for the long term to reduce plastic waste including single-use, and latest thinking on the impact of the Environment Bill

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; DAERA, NI; Defra; the Department for International Trade; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Food Standards Agency and the Welsh Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy,  as well as from waste management groups, recycling facilities, goods manufacturers, science and technology centres, environmental groups, packaging companies, retailers, catering groups, shipping companies, sustainability experts, fashion groups, local government, as well as researchers in academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Helen Bird

Strategic Engagement Manager, WRAP


Barry Turner

Group Director, Plastic and Flexible Packaging, British Plastics Federation

Libby Peake

Head, resource policy, Green Alliance

Jacob Hayler

Executive Director, Environmental Services Association

Jo Ruxton

Executive Director & Co-Founder, Plasticoceans

Paul Davidson

Challenge Director, Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging, UKRI

Dr Rachael Rothman

Co-Director, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures; and Academic Lead for Sustainability, University of Sheffield