The announcement reveals that government plan to run a consultation in the Autumn surrounding future bans on single-use plastic items.
The new consultation follows on from a ban last October of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, which were banned for sale and distribution in the UK.
The consultation and existing policies surrounding plastics, including the 10p plastic bag levy and the plastic packaging tax commencing next year, are a result of government’s commitment to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
This is not a surprise considering the recent implementation of the EU Single-use Plastics Directive, containing a range of market restrictions and other policy measures on items such as polystyrene food containers, plastic cutlery, and tobacco filters. We can expect to see similar items under review in the following months as UK Plastics Pact members, coordinated by WRAP, have identified key problematic materials to be included in the consultation.
It has been stated that the new consultation in the Autumn is set to cover single-use plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups, amongst a raft of other items. The government announcement states that “it is estimated that each person uses a staggering 18 single-use plastic plates and 37 single-use plastic items of cutlery each year in England... Around the world, more than one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die every year from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste”.
It is hoped that restrictions on these items will lead to more sustainable product choices and lower prevalence of litter.
Stamp out unnecessary use of plastics
Environment Secretary George Eustice said "We’ve all seen the damage that plastic does to our environment. It is right that we put in place measures that will tackle the plastic carelessly strewn across our parks and green spaces and washed up on beaches."
"We have made progress to turn the tide on plastic, banning the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, while our carrier bag charge has cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets. Now we are looking to go a step further as we build back greener. These plans will help us stamp out the unnecessary use of plastics that wreak havoc with our natural environment."
Further details of the consultation, including the full list of single-use items under review, will be published in the upcoming weeks.
Find out more about EPR measures
In addition to bans of single-use plastics, extensive Extended Producer Responsibility measures are coming soon that packaging producers need to prepare for now. This includes modulated fees, a plastic packaging tax and a Deposit Return Scheme, which are set to dramatically increase reporting requirements and costs for producers.
As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.