Question to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs - Polystyrene Food Packaging

Pecynnau Bwyd Polystyren

Polystyrene Food Packaging




Janet Finch-Saunders

9. A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am ddefnyddio pecynnau bwyd polystyren yng Nghymru? OAQ(5)0067(ERA)

9. Will the Minister make a statement on the use of polystyrene food packaging in Wales? OAQ(5)0067(ERA)




Lesley Griffiths

Thank you. We are currently evaluating our waste strategy to ensure resources are managed to produce sustainable benefits for Wales. We continue to work in partnership with the packaging industry and organisations such as WRAP to promote the optimisation of packaging and to reduce it where possible, regardless of the material.



Janet Finch-Saunders

Thank you. You might have seen the BBC One programme last night, ‘Keeping a Lid On It’. It was highlighting problems of four-weekly bin collections in Conwy. But one of the issues that came from that is that about 70 per cent of beach litter in Wales is polystyrene/plastic, and everyone is now with these polystyrene cups for coffee and everything. They’re finding their way now significantly into our landfill. Over 100 cities around the world have banned, or are in the process of banning, polystyrene food packaging, and your predecessor did say last year that he would look at whether there is something in Wales that we could do specifically to address some of these issues. Could you outline what you will do to address this? Will you consider a levy on such items, and are you in a position to report on the findings of the joint research project commissioned by your department between Swansea University and the Marine Conservation Society?



Lesley Griffiths

I didn’t see the programme, but I have read about it today, and you'll be aware that Wales is really leading the way in relation to recycling. If we were a single member state in Europe, we would be fourth in Europe, but, certainly, we’re way ahead of the game in the UK.



In relation to your specific questions around polystyrene, I'm not quite sure why you think that, because we have done some data analysis on this, and polystyrene is not thought to be a major contributor to littering in Wales, except on a very local basis, where it's by the premises that are providing fast food, for instance. It tends to be the independent fast food outlets that use this polystyrene packaging—it’s not well used across Wales. However, any litter is not to be welcomed, and I'm very happy to look at other things.



In relation to a levy on polystyrene, again, would people take—it's not like a carrier bag—would people take a container with them to get their food? So, I think we need to look at other interventions before we introduce a levy. But I'm very interested in packaging across—you know, single-use coffee cups. I'm very happy to look at what we can do in relation to this, to look if we need legislation, and, again, in my meeting tomorrow with Andrea Leadsom, it's on the agenda.