Single-use plastic cutlery and plates could be banned in England

31 August 2021 by
Single-use plastic cutlery and plates could be banned in England

Single-use plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups could be banned in England as the government steps up its ‘war on plastic'.

Ministers hope the move will lead to businesses using more sustainable alternatives and reduce the amount of plastics harming the environment. A full list of single-use items to be considered for a ban will be published in the coming weeks ahead of a public consultation launching in the autumn.

It is estimated that each person uses 18 single-use plastic plates and 37 single-use plastic cutlery items each year in England. The durability of plastic means the items can last for centuries in landfill or as litter in the countryside or ocean.

A government ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds came into force in England in October 2020.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "We've all seen the damage that plastic does to our environment. It is right that we put in place measures that will tackle the plastic carelessly strewn across our parks and green spaces and washed up on beaches.

"We have made progress to turn the tide on plastic, banning the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, while our carrier bag charge has cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets.

"Now we are looking to go a step further as we build back greener. These plans will help us stamp out the unnecessary use of plastics that wreak havoc with our natural environment."

Ministers are planning a range of legislation to tackle pollution as part of an upcoming Environment Bill. Consultations on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and requiring packaging producers to cover the cost of dealing with waste were held earlier this year.

UKHospitality previously warned a deposit return scheme could create a 'logistical nightmare' for hospitality businesses.

A tax on plastics that don't meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content is due to be introduced from April 2022.

Image: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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