Some single-use plastics to be banned

Barry White

The government has confirmed that single-use items like plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene trays will be banned in England, although no date has been announced when the ban will come into effect, it is likely to be in October.  This follows similar moves by Scotland and Wales.

Confirmation of the move from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) follows a long public consultation, which will be published on Saturday 14 January.

Government figures suggest that 1.1 billion single-use plates and more than four billion pieces of plastic cutlery are used in England every year. Plastic waste often does not decompose and can last in landfill for many years.

According to Defra, each person in England uses an average of 18 single-use plastic plates and 37 items of plastic cutlery every year, while just 10% of those are recycled.

Sky News reports today that although the action has been welcomed, campaigners said far more needs to be done to deal with the “plastic flood”

Megan Randles, of Greenpeace UK, said: “Whilst it’s welcome that the government has finally banned certain items, we’re dealing with a plastic flood, and this is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap.

“We need the government to deliver a meaningful plastic reduction strategy, which means bringing in plastic reduction targets and a proper reuse and refill scheme.

“It’s time to stop pandering to industry lobbyists; stop promoting false solutions; and stop dumping our plastic waste in countries that have done the least to cause the climate crisis.

“Anything else is not global leadership on plastic.”

This latest measure does not, however, cover items found in supermarkets or shops. The government said it would address those by other means.

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