The UK Government is moving closer to extending a ban on single-use plastic in England.
The UK Government is moving closer to extending a ban on single-use plastic such as cutlery and cups in England.
There will be a 12-week consultation on the matter and a separate call to investigate how single-use products such as sachets, tobacco filters and wet wipes containing plastic contribute to avoidable waste.
Possible actions could include a ban on the use of plastic in these items, as well as mandatory labelling to make sure customers are disposing of them responsibly.
The Environment Act could be used in order to put new charges on single-use items, helping combat “throwaway culture,” and give customers an incentive to use more sustainable products instead.
This follows the ban on microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics, a reduction in the use of plastic bags and restrictions in plastic straws, cotton buds and coffee stirrers.
Raquel Mezquita Rincon, coffee operations manager, told Sky News: “Social responsibility and sustainability, we think that it goes together.”
“We source coffee in an ethical way and we thought we have to echo that in all the areas in the company, not just how we source the coffee but also how we finally produce it to the customers.”
“Since day one, we’ve been using non-plastic materials.”
“If we started like that, I think for any other company that opens or any company that wants to transition to non-plastic materials it’s easier.”
The government intends on eliminating plastic waster by 2024.
Jo Churchill, DEFRA minister, told Sky News: “Single-use plastics are a menace.”
“What we want to do is to make sure we can get rid of the single-use plastics that actually, are so difficult when you look at how they affect marine life and when you look at how they affect nature – how litter blights some of our most beautiful spots, but also our town centres.”
“That’s why getting rid of single-use plastics is so important.”
She added that phasing out plastics is a slower process in some industries, for example, in medicine “where there aren’t alternatives,” meaning everything has to be carried out in a “measured way.”
An estimated 1.1 billion single-use plates are used every year in England, as well as 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery – most of which are plastic – with only 10 per cent being recycled.
However, banning single-use plastic is not something that is welcomed by all.
Caroline Wiggins, CEO of eGreen, argues that during the pandemic, single-use items were very extremely beneficial.
Wiggins told Sky News: “You’re eradicating the need for multiple people to touch a product and risk infection.”
“It’s recognised to have helped reduce infection and cross infection in wards and hospitals.”
“So the risk of banning something is extremely serious because we’ve had a pandemic that has highlighted these issues of hygiene.”
She said that the “implication” of alternatives needs to be thought through.
She said: “If we turn to wood for example, where does it come from?”
“Trees – and if you look at COP26, one of the agenda points was deforestation.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “There is growing recognition of the damage that plastics cause to our environment and marine life in particular. We want to reduce the use of plastics in packaging and ban its use in items linked to littering.”
“We have already banned plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds and now plan to extend the ban to cutlery and balloon sticks where alternative materials, like wood, can be used.”
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