On Sunday, a ban came into force on single-use plastics. The ban, announced may this year, means single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers can now no longer be sold in England. The supply of single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls have also been restricted. Environment minister, Rebecca Pow said ‘this new ban is the next big step in our mission to crack down on harmful plastic waste’.
Research shows that only 10% of the 2.7 billion items of plastic single-use cutlery and 721 million single-use plates is recycled each year, the rest ending up in landfill. The ban is part of the Government’s aim to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 and comes after previous bans on products such as plastic straws, the introduction of the plastic carrier bag charge and the plastic packaging tax that was introduced in April of this year. There are also talks of further bans, including single-use vapes which the not-for-profit organisation Material Focus revealed amounted to eight vapes a second being discarded, creating tonnes of plastic waste a year.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said:
Through the actions of government, businesses and individuals, we are transitioning away from unnecessary plastics and improving sustainability across the public and private sectors. This shift from single-use items is vital as the Government continues its work to protect the environment for future generations.
Defra has been working closely with the relevant trade bodies and local authorities to help support the transition away from these single-use plastic products. UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said hospitality businesses have been working with the UK government ‘to ensure these new bans and restrictions are practical for hospitality businesses, all while working towards the nation’s sustainability goals’.
The Plastics Reprocessing Infrastructure conference takes place this week, on 5 October at the Hallam Conference Centre in London. Discussions throughout the day will have a specific focus on the challenges and opportunities surrounding greater UK capacity to reprocess plastics. For more information on the event, visit their website.