You might have noticed many businesses cutting back on single-use plastic items over the last few years, but this is now being rolled out as law across food outlets. Items including plastic plates, trays and cutlery will no longer be permitted for use across England when the ban comes into place.
It is not yet clear when the legislation will come into place, but it will follow a similar policy set out in Scotland and Wales.
In this bid to reduce pollution, the single-use plastic ban hopes to quell the estimated 1.1 billion plastic plates and 4.25 billion pieces of cutlery, only 10% of which are thought to be recycled, that go to waste each year. Plastic waste that cannot be recycled often doesn’t decompose and simply lies in landfill for years.
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey is implementing this policy after a consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that ran between November 2021 and February 2022, and said that this will help protect the environment for future generations. The response to this consultation is due to be published on January 14.
Thérèse Coffey said: “A plastic fork can take 200 years to decompose, that is two centuries in landfill or polluting our oceans. I am determined to drive forward action to tackle this issue head-on. We’ve already taken major steps in recent years – but we know there is more to do, and we have again listened to the public’s calls.
“This new ban will have a huge impact to stop the pollution of billions of pieces of plastic and help to protect the natural environment for future generations.”
According to the BBC, however, this ban will not cover the sale of these single-use plastic items in supermarkets or shops.
Megan Randles, a political campaigner for Greenpeace, supports the ban but argued it needs to go further, saying: “We’re dealing with a plastic flood, and this is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap.”
“We need the government to deliver a meaningful plastic reduction strategy, which means bringing in plastic reduction targets and a proper reuse and refill scheme.”
A date for the ban on single-use plastic items has not yet been set. Keep an eye on our page for further updates.