England seeks to expand bans on single-use plastic products

Single-use plastic cutlery and transparent beverage cups arranged around a prohibition sign
Single-use plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups
are among the items to be potentially banned in England
31.08.2021 − 

Policymakers are considering banning more single-use plastic products in England. In an effort to reduce litter and to push businesses towards the use of more sustainable alternatives, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will seek public opinion on "a raft of items" including single-use plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups that could be forbidden.

The items named by the environment ministry as candidates for future English market restrictions are already banned in the EU, which the UK left on 31 January 2020. Measures under the EU's Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive which forbid the placing of several frequently-littered single-use products on the EU market were due to be implemented in the member states in early July. At present, England has a ban on plastic straws and stirrers and cotton buds with a plastic stems, which came into force in October of last year.

Environment secretary George Eustice said that with the bans currently under consideration the government sought "to go a step further as we build back greener". Further details of the consultation, including the full list of single-use items under review, are to be announced in the upcoming weeks. Defra was, however, quick to dismiss a report in the "Daily Mail" that the measures might include a tax on disposable nappies. The British tabloid, which has a reputation for sensationalism, ran the story with an eye-grabbing headline on its title page on 30 August.

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