The UK government has announced plans to ban single use plastic plates and cutlery, as well as polystyrene cups in an effort to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment and human health. It is planned to be enforced in 2023. A public consultation on the plastic ban will launch in the autumn and welcomes any suggestions on eliminating other items.
The plans will also look to impose a plastic packaging tax, which will charge USD$275 (£200) per tonne for plastic that has less than 30% recycled content, in a move to encourage greater use of recycled materials. Other initiatives include a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles to encourage consumer recycling, as well as extended producer responsibility, which shifts recycling responsibilities and disposal of packaging onto companies and manufacturers. The UK government also wants to look into the possibility of eliminating items such as crisp packets, PVC cling film, fruit and vegetable stickers, plastic coffee pods and tea bags by 2025.
Several other countries have already enforced a ban on single use plastics whilst others are still in the process of doing so. The EU has banned single use plastic products, with India looking to ban the manufacturing and use of single plastic items from July 2022.
“We’ve all seen the damage that plastic does to our environment,” said UK environment secretary, George Eustice. “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, now we are looking to go a step further.”