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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Alice Peacock

Single use plastics like polystyrene cups 'to be banned' in crackdown on waste

Single-use plastic items, including plates and cutlery, are set to be banned in England as the Government looks to crack down on the amount of waste polluting waterways.

Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey is said to be preparing to announce plans to phase out items like plastic takeaway utensils in the coming weeks.

It comes after the governments of other UK nations made similar moves earlier this year.

Scotland's single-use plastic ban having come into effect in June, while Wales’ Senedd approved legislation to ban selling unnecessary, disposable products to consumers at the beginning of December.

Every year in England, more than 4 billion items of cutlery and more than 1 billion plates are disposed of in England, the Financial Times reports .

A vast majority of single-use plastic items end up in landfill (Daily Record)

While it is possible to recycle these objects, a vast majority of them still end up in landfill of as litter.

The UK Government banned single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in 2020 before last year MPs launched a consultation into prohibiting several other disposable objects in England.

This included cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups.

The plan was delayed by political turmoil and a full year after ministers pledged tougher action, c ampaigners accused the Government of “dragging its feet”.

According to government insiders, Ms Coffey is now preparing to give the go-ahead to the prohibition.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that cutting England’s reliance on single-use plastic was imperative and committed to “responding soon” to a consultation on the legislation.

“We are determined to go further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle more of our resources in order to transform our waste industry,” it added.

The department is also said to be considering how to eradicate other items involving single-use plastic, including wet wipes and tobacco filters.

Of the 300 million tonnes of plastic waste produced globally each year, only around a tenth is recycled.

Nearly all of those responding to the government’s consultation backed a one-use plastics ban – including cutlery, plates and polystyrene food containers. And nearly two-thirds said the ban should kick in sooner than the government’s April 2023 start date.

Wales was the first UK nation to introduce a single use plastic charge of 5p back in 2011, with Scotland and England later following suit.

England's government introduced a 5p levy on carrier bags in October 2015, which resulted in an 85 per cent reduction in the use of plastic bags.

England's government introduced a 5p levy on carrier bags in October 2015 (U. Baumgarten via Getty Images)

In 2018 the plastic bag levy doubled to 10p, with major supermarkets such as Sainsbury's charging up to 20p or more for a single-use bag.

In 2021, Morrisons replaced all its plastic bags with 30p paper ones.

However, Nina Schrank, senior plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said the UK government was not acting fast enough.

The UK was still throwing away an estimated 100bn pieces of plastic each year, she said.

Schrank urged the UK government to put its environmental bill to use in order to bring in legally binding targets to halve single-use plastic by 2025 as well as ban the export of plastic waste.

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