Plastic Cutlery Ban Mooted in England to End ‘Throwaway Culture’
(Bloomberg) -- Ministers proposed a ban on single-use plastic cutlery and plates in England as part of a bid to end “throwaway culture” and incentivize consumers to use sustainable alternatives.
Environment Secretary George Eustice announced the proposal on Saturday, kicking off a 12-week consultation that also covers polystyrene cups and once-only plastic food and beverage containers. In a separate call for evidence, Eustice’s department additionally asked for views on banning wet wipes, tobacco filters, sachets and single-use coffee cups containing plastic.
The proposals are part of a government drive to reduce waste that often goes to landfill, or ends up as litter polluting the countryside and coast. Ministers are also examining how to put responsibility on manufacturers to do everything possible to cut back on single-use plastics, according to the statement.
“There is growing recognition of the damage that plastics cause to our environment and marine life in particular,” Eustice said in the statement. “We want to reduce the use of plastics in packaging and ban its use in items linked to littering.”
Eustice is trying to replicate the success seen in slashing the use of plastic bags in the U.K. After charges for single-use plastic bags were introduced, their use in supermarkets plunged by 95% since 2015. The government also banned plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in recent years.
Eustice’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said England uses 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery every year, with only 10% recycled. Some 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year across the U.K., it said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.