HC Deb 02 March 2000 vol 345 cc550-1
17. Dr. Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test)

What steps his Department is taking to encourage use of recycled materials. [111548]

The Minister for Small Business and E-Commerce (Ms Patricia Hewitt)

On 31 January, we made a call for proposals under the DTI's recycling programme. The programme can provide funds to support research, development and demonstration projects that have the potential to create substantial new demand for recycled materials.

Dr. Whitehead

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Does she consider that at just over £1 million, the DTI recycling programme will have great impact? Does she agree that a greater impact could be achieved by a programme of deposits at the point of sale of consumer goods, which could be redeemed on presentation of the goods for recycling or disposal?

Ms Hewitt

I am indeed confident that £1 million worth of pump-priming money will have a helpful impact. I am aware of my hon. Friend's support for a deposit system for white goods. We will consider that when we see the draft European directive on electrical and electronic waste, which is likely to propose a collection and recycling target.

Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

Is the Department considering whether it is technically possible to recycle orimulsion?

Ms Hewitt

I am sure we are.

Mr. Christopher Leslie (Shipley)

On a different subject from orimulsion, will my hon. Friend consider encouraging drinks manufacturers also to operate a deposit and return schemes? Not only would that help to encourage recycling and reduce landfill, but it would help to clean up the streets.

Ms Hewitt

I well remember as a child collecting bottles with the intention of getting the deposit back on them, and very popular that was, too, so of course I will look into that.