Consultation launched into banning single-use plastic cutlery and plates
Single-use plastics such as plates, cutlery and food containers could all be banned in England after the government launched a public consultation into the issue.
Items such as expanded polystyrene cups could also be phased out in a bid to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
Environment secretary George Eustice said it was time to leave the UK's "throwaway culture" behind "once and for all".
It is estimated that 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery are used in England every year, but only 10% are recycled.
Under proposals in the 12-week public consultation, businesses and consumers will need to move towards more sustainable alternatives.
Possible future policy measures could include banning plastic in certain items and introducing mandatory labelling on packaging to help consumers dispose of items correctly.
Eustice said: "These new plans represent the next major step in eradicating the use of problematic plastics that pollute our natural world."
Ministers are planning a range of legislation to tackle pollution as part of the Environment Act, which became law earlier this month. 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.
A separate call for evidence is to be launched on tackling other commonly used plastic products such as single-use cups, sachets and wet wipes.
A government ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds came into force in England in October 2020 and 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.
The sale of single-use plastic items such as straws, cutlery and polystyrene cups and food boxes is to be banned in Scotland from June 2022.
To contribute to the consultation visit https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/consultation-on-proposals-to-ban-commonly-littered/
Image: Mayuree Moonhirun / Shutterstock