Public believes plastic will soon be history as single-use ban begins

As of October, new national restrictions apply as public confirms belief material will soon be confined to history. 

person holding white plastic disposable fork and spoon

From retailers to takeaways, businesses are no longer allowed to use a range of single-use plastic items. These include cutlery, cups, balloon sticks, and food containers, with the supply of such products also now restricted. 

Policymakers hope the move will help bring down plastic pollution overall, with estimates suggesting 2.7billion items of cutlery and 721million plates are used in the country each year. Just 10% was bound for recycling until the new laws came into effect, no doubt thanks in part to ongoing confusion as to which items can be used in the circular economy, and which bins they belong in. 

‘This new ban is the next big step in our mission to crack down on harmful plastic waste. It will protect the environment and help to cut litter – stopping plastic pollution dirtying our streets and threatening our wildlife,’ said Environment Minister Rebecca Pow. ‘This builds on world-leading bans on straws, stirrers and cotton buds, our single-use carrier bag charge and our plastic packaging tax, helping us on our journey to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.’

Several public consultations have shown widespread support for the regulations, with the Government’s own figures pointing to 95% of respondents being in favour of all prohibitions. Meanwhile, plastics replacement company Xampla conducted its own research, showing that 54% of people think plastic ‘will become a material of the past’, with 76% claiming they would prefer to receive products in natural, zero-plastic packaging. 

‘There is now a clear trend in regulation, where single-use plastic is being relegated firmly to the naughty step. It is yesterday’s material and is rightly viewed as such. But more needs to be done to phase out more single-use applications, more quickly. There is simply no need for plastic to be so ubiquitous,’ said Pete Hutton, Executive Chairman of Xampla.

‘UK companies are already scaling up the natural replacements which will make single use plastic obsolete,’ he continued. ‘Our own Morro materials feel and look like plastic, and can be used to do the same things, but they are completely plastic-free. They can break down safely and completely at the end of life, wherever they end up.’

More on plastic pollution and recycling: 

Domestic tension caused by 9m who reject recycling rules

Plastic treaty talks unlikely to deliver solution

English recycling record must improve, but will national scheme work?

Image: Brian Yurasits


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