The Government has confirmed that single-use plastic cutlery, plates and trays are set to be banned in England.
While the Government is yet to confirm a timeframe for the ban to become legislation in England, Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey says she is ‘determined to drive forward action to tackle this issue head on’ and ‘protect the natural environment for future generations’.
In an overview of a consultation which took place between November 2021 and February 2022 Defra says that while Government action has already impacted the production, consumption and end-of-life treatment of many single-use plastic items ‘the case for more focused action on certain items remains’.
2021 estimates put England’s annual consumption of single-use plates at 1.1 billion and of single-use cutlery at 4.25 billion pieces – most of which is plastic, and only 10% of which is recycled.
This is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap
With the ban excluding packaging items for takeaway food and drink from shops and other retail outlets, campaigners say measures do not go far enough.
“Whilst it’s welcome that the Government’s finally banned certain items, we’re dealing with a plastic flood, and this is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap,” comments Greenpeace UK political campaigner Megan Randles.
“We need the Government to deliver a meaningful plastic reduction strategy, which means bringing in plastic reduction targets and a proper reuse and refill scheme.
“It’s time to stop pandering to industry lobbyists; stop promoting false solutions; and stop dumping our plastic waste in countries that have done the least to cause the climate crisis. Anything else is not global leadership on plastic.”