Single-use plastics ban under consultation

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Single-use plastic plates, cutlery, expanded and extruded polystyrene cups and food and beverage containers could all be phased out in England, in the latest Government bid to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.

According to government estimates, 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.

Under proposals in a new 12-week public consultation, businesses and consumers will need to move towards more sustainable alternatives.

Environment Secretary George Eustice commented on the announcement: “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.”

The Government has also launched a separate call for evidence to address other sources of plastic pollution. This will ask stakeholders for views on tackling commonly littered plastics such as wet wipes, tobacco filters, sachets and other single-use cups.

Future policy measures that could be explored include banning plastic in these items, and mandatory labelling on packaging to help consumers dispose of these items correctly.

The Government will also examine how we can put the responsibility firmly at manufacturers’ doors to make sure they are doing everything they can to tackle single-use plastics, including litter from cigarette butts.

This consultation closes at

More information about this consultation is available on the UK government website.

More information about the call for evidence on commonly littered single-use plastic items is available on the UK Government website.