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)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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 - increasing recycling, reducing plastic use, and supporting the development of sustainable alternatives

Morning, Thursday, 5th November 2020


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

This conference examines priorities for reducing avoidable plastic waste.

It is bringing together key stakeholders and policymakers to assess:

  • developments in strategies for improving waste management
  • latest thinking on behaviour change
  • industry commitments to tackle the problem

The discussion at a glance:

  • plastic waste management - next steps for improvement and learning from those leading the way
  • behaviour change - strategies for encouraging it in businesses, households and individuals
  • innovation - in materials, product design and business practices - particularly in the food sector
  • policy developments - the Environment Bill, voluntary commitments, extended producer responsibility, and options for further developments in regulation, enforcement and incentives
  • COVID-19 - the impact on waste management services and processes, and those working in the sector, as well as what can be learned for the future, including:
    • service disruption - the impact of the closures of recycling plants and changes to waste collection procedures during the crisis
    • household behaviour - changes during the pandemic, including the effect of reduced waste collection
    • best practice - what can be learned from the heightened safety and public health measures put in place that might inform procedures going forward
    • policy disruption - the effect on longer-term plastic waste policy implementation of the temporary requirements for one-time use of plastics in clinical, retail and other settings

Key areas for discussion: 

  • the Environment Bill - assessing provisions for bans and charges for classes of plastic, extended producer responsibility reform, labelling, deposit return schemes and consistent collection policies
  • domestic waste management - priorities for progress on targets for increasing recycling rates eliminating single use plastic and standardising collection
  • consumer engagement and awareness:
    • waste separation - improving consumer knowledge, and whether more needs to be done to enable or mandate the separation of materials prior to collection
    • learning from others - policy and practice outside the UK, with a case study from Copenhagen
    • behaviour change - developments in design and consumer messages
    • future options - looking at single use plastics beyond plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, and what can be learnt from the introduction of charges on single use carrier bags
  • business practice:
    • progress - looking at reduction in plastic use whilst maintaining safety in clinical, workplace and other settings - and assessing the impact of measures implemented in the wake of COVID-19
    • engagement - strategies for incentivising businesses and producer responsibility
    • voluntary or mandated? - the future balance of industry-led and government-mandated targets
  • innovation - latest developments in packaging and product design, ensuring perishable product shelf-life, consumer and business engagement, and new minimum design requirements
  • infrastructure - next steps for developing effective and comprehensive UK plastic waste management and recycling facilities
  • enforcement - reducing illegal waste activities, assessing measures in the Environment Bill for business waste management practices, and introduction of an electronic waste tracking system

Relevant policy developments at a glance: 

  • the Environment Bill, with plans within its resources and waste management chapter for:
    • new measures - bans on specific types of unrecyclable plastic and new powers for national authorities to introduce charges for single-use plastics
    • EPR scheme reform - with greater responsibility for producers for disposal, and encouragement to innovate product design
    • labelling - clearer information on products so that they can easily be identified as recyclable
    • DRS - introduction of deposit return schemes to encourage on the go recycling
    • ending variation - addressing differences between authorities in materials collected from households and business
  • the ongoing Courtauld Commitment 2025, The UK Plastics Pact, and the Resources and Waste Strategy for England, and Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and NI
  • Circular Economy Package policy statement - from Defra, which aims to increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration plants
  • legislation:
    • single use plastics - ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds to come into effect later this year following delays attributed to the pandemic
    • the Plastic packaging tax - being proposed on packaging made of less than 30% recycled content from April 2022
  • Standards for biodegradable, compostable, and bio-based plastics - with a government response still awaited following consultation
  • The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge - in the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge Fund, with UKRI competitions to develop smarter plastics and more efficient recycling systems 
  • an extended producer responsibility system for packaging - Defra proposing its introduction in 2023, following further consultation in 2020

The agenda:

  • The UK Plastics Pact and the Courtauld Commitment 2025 - progress to date and priorities for international collaboration
  • Case study from Copenhagen: increasing recycling rates and innovation in home collection
  • Improving domestic plastic waste management - safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, standardised collections, developing recycling infrastructure, and opportunities for the introduction of a deposit return scheme
  • Reducing plastic waste - industry priorities, innovation, and developing reusable, hygienic and sustainable materials:
    • Opportunities for innovating product design and developing materials
    • Supporting innovation and reducing the usage of in plastic packaging in the food and retail sector
    • Challenges for extended producer responsibility - preventing and redistributing surplus materials
    • Encouraging change in consumer behaviour
    • The importance of a full lifecycle circular economy: advocating for lifting the discussion beyond an end-of-life perspective
    • The role of environmental standards in reducing plastic pollution and ensuring the sustainability of new materials
    • Reducing plastic use in health and social care whilst maintaining cleanliness and patient safety
  • Next steps for policy and taking forward the Environment Bill

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This one looks no different. Places have been reserved by officials from BEISMHCLG; NICS; Defra; the Food Standards Agency; the Department for International Trade; Health and Safety Executive; the Northern Ireland Environment Agency; DAERA, NI; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. Also due to attend are representatives from 3keel; AB Agri; Addleshaw Goddard; AECOM; A Greener Festival; Asda; Associated British Foods; Berry Gardens; Better Bankside; British Coatings Federation; Circular Surrey; City to Sea; Company Shop; Dart Products Europe; Ecosurety; Environment Agency; Fashion Roundtable; Garden Industry Manufacturers Association; Institute of Technology Carlow; Knowledge Transfer Network; London Borough of Tower Hamlets; Morton Fraser; Natural Source Waters Association; NHS London Procurement Partnership; Ocado Retail; Peel L&P Environmental; PRI; Quorn foods; South East Rivers Trust; South Lakeland District Council; The London Waste and Recycling Board; TUCO; University of Liverpool; University of the Highlands & Islands; University of Wolverhampton; Weightmans and Zero Waste Scotland.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording 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

Dr Marcus Gover

Chief Executive Officer, WRAP

Keynote Speakers

Dawn Woodward

Deputy Head, Resource and Waste, Defra

Dr Marcus Gover

Chief Executive Officer, WRAP

Malene Møhl

Project Manager, Waste and Resources, Copenhagen Municipality


Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

former Leader, Green Party of England and Wales

Mark Pawsey MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Packaging Manufacturing Industry


Bryony Rothwell

RECAP Partnership Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council

Martin Curtois

External Affairs Director, Veolia

Adrian Griffiths

Founder & CEO, Recycling Technologies

Beth Simpson

Senior Consultant, Anthesis

Alexis Percival

Environmental & Sustainability Manager, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Dr Chantelle Wood

Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, and Co-Investigator, Plastics: Redefining Single Use project, University of Sheffield

Erik Lindroth

Sustainability Director, Tetra Pak North Europe

David Fatscher

Head of Sector (Environment, Social and Governance), British Standards Institution

Michael Stevens

Deputy Chairman, Symphony Environmental Technologies

Julian Hunt

Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications GB, Coca-Cola

Claire Hughes

Head of Quality & Innovation, Sainsbury’s