Plates and cutlery face ban in latest plastic purge

Ministers have stepped up efforts to tackle single-use plastic waste in England by drawing up plans to ban a fresh raft of commonly littered items.

The government will consult on banning the supply of single-use plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks, and expanded and extruded polystyrene cups and food and beverage containers in England.

DEFRA cited estimates which show England uses 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% are recycled upon disposal.

WWF sustainable materials specialist Paula Chin and Susan Evans from the Green Alliance this week warned the environment, food and rural affairs (EFRA) committee that the bans would do little to accelerate more sustainable use of resources or circular economy thinking. Indeed, the impact assessments done to date suggest most companies will simply switch to other single-use materials.

The Foodservice Packaging Association questioned why priority had been given to the single-use plastic items over cigarette ends, which is the most commonly littered item according to the latest Keep Britain Tidy survey.

The government has launched a separate call for evidence on tackling other commonly littered plastics such as wet wipes, tobacco filters, sachets and other single-use cups.

It has already banned microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and restricted the supply of single-use plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds.

Ministers are also working towards the introduction of an extended producer responsibility scheme for packaging, a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, and the introduction of consistent collections of household waste in England. However, all these are facing delays. A plastics tax will however come into force in April.

The consultation on the latest proposed bans closes on February 12th.

1 Response

  1. Ab out time really. Hopefully they should find a way to dispose the huge stockpiles of polystyrene burger and other meal containers and plates. Commercial warehouses are stockpiled with them as they are the most sought after.
    thie is about time always dilly dallying and its ten years too late

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