This week Defra have opened a new consultation on proposals to prohibit the sale and distribution of plastic products deemed to be unnecessary or avoidable.
The consultation is open to key stakeholders and members of the public and the products that are highlighted include plastic straws, plastic-stemmed cotton buds and plastic drinks stirrers.
The proposed ban on these products could come into force as early as October 2019 – it is certainly reassuring to see that the government can be fast-moving on introducing new regulation.
The consultation will be open for a total of five weeks, closing on 3 December. If you are interested in commenting/contributing to the consultation you can do so here.
Somewhat limited in scope
Michael Gove has highlighted the damage that disposable plastic items can cause, however, one could be forgiven for feeling that this consultation is somewhat limited in its scope when it comes to tackling 'throwaway plastic'.
It is great to see Defra looking to make changes, but what cannot be ignored is that the items highlighted in this consultation are not the biggest contributors to plastic pollution, though they perhaps make good headlines.
Robbie Staniforth, policy manager at Ecosurety, gave his thoughts on this most recent consultation: “We’re pleased to see Defra following up on work conducted by HM Treasury earlier this year. We believe that bans may be appropriate for certain products and will respond in due course.”
“However, we hope this does not take up too much of the government’s and industry’s time as there are much bigger plastics issues to solve, not to mention wider climate change target metrics to meet.”
Looking forward to the EPR consultation
We are looking forward to the release of Defra’s much-anticipated consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility and packaging regulation reform later in the year.
We are expecting this consultation to give the UK a much bigger opportunity to change the current status quo – and not only become an international leader in tackling the “plastics problem”, but also for other products and materials that create challenging problems for the environment.
If you'd like to discuss this consultation with our team, please do contact us.
Anna provides key support for Ecosurety members across the batteries, packaging and WEEE regulations, with a particular focus on import and manufacture companies. Helping with data submissions, calculating obligations and making the nuances of the producer responsibility regulations understandable are all in a days work.
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