St Albans MP Anne Main spoke out against a "throwaway society" of buying and discarding cheap clothes as she spoke out in Parliament about preventing plastic waste.

The Conservative MP, who chairs the cross-party group on preventing plastic waste, outlined the need to change consumer mindsets about single-use plastics, the importance of using sustainable and natural replacements and the ‘plastic soup’ of microplastics that are now in our oceans..

Mrs Main was speaking in the e-petition debate on unsustainable packaging. The debate was triggered after an E-petition saw 100,000 people - including 464 from St Albans - sign in support of finding alternatives.

Mrs Main said: “As a society, we cannot turn back the clock.

“We do not want to increase food waste, or the number of heavy bottles being transported around the country; we need to decide whether we actually need that packaging, rather than replacing it with something in a different form that might be just as damaging.”

The MP highlighted the difficulty of recycling mixed plastic and cardboard packaging such as sandwich packets and Pringles tubes.

And she attacked ‘the throwaway society’ of cheap clothing being disposed after only a few uses.

She added: “Our contact with plastic is huge and in the future people will ask why on earth we did not realise quite how injurious this was.

"We should not just be picking up our plastic waste, but cutting off the stream.”

Earlier this week, Mrs Main invited Starbucks to Parliament to discuss how it is changing change customer behaviour and reducing the amount of plastic waste thrown away by customers and staff.

The cafe chain said it is working with other chains, including McDonald's, to make their cups easier to recycle. It has already introduced a 5p charge for paper cups and a 25p discount for customers who bring reusable cups, and is planning on ending its use of plastic straws next year.

After the meeting with Starbucks, Mrs Main explained: “The UK’s coffee culture continues to grow and that means thousands more takeaway coffee cups going into landfill every day.

“Starbucks, by combining with other coffee shops, can make a real difference in how much of that goes to waste. If they can change the way their customers think about throwaway cups and encourage us all to use more reusable containers, then that is a good thing.”

Since Starbucks have encouraged recycling policies, the company went from 1 in 400 coffee cups being recycled to 1 in 25.