Plans unveiled to ban single-use plastics

Environment Secretary George Eustice has said that single-use plastic plates, cutlery, expanded and extruded polystyrene cups and food and beverage containers could all be phased out in the latest government bid to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.

England alone uses an estimated 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery — most of which are plastic — per year, but only 10 per cent are recycled upon disposal. Under proposals in a 12-week public consultation, businesses and consumers will need to move towards more sustainable alternatives.

The government is also launching a separate call for evidence to address other sources of plastic pollution. This will ask stakeholders for views on tackling commonly littered plastics such as wet wipes, tobacco filters, sachets and other single-use cups. Furthermore, future policy measures that could be explored include banning plastic in these items, and mandatory labelling on packaging to help consumers dispose of these items correctly.

 Eustice said: “Plastic damages our environment and destroys wildlife. This government has waged war on unnecessary, wasteful plastics - banning the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, while our carrier bag charge has cut consumption by 95 per cent in the main supermarkets.

“But it’s time we left our throwaway culture behind once and for all. Through our world-leading Environment Act, we will reduce waste and make better use of our resources, helping us to build back greener and leave the environment in a better state than we found it. These new plans represent the next major step in eradicating the use of problematic plastics that pollute our natural world.”

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