The government is one step closer to extending a ban on disposable plastic items for plates, cutlery and cups in the UK with the launch of a new public hearing.
In addition to a 12-week consultation, there will be a separate call for evidence to examine how to curb products that create avoided waste, such as wet wipes that contain plastic, tobacco filters and bags.
Possible options could include banning the use of plastic in these items and also mandatory labeling to ensure that consumers dispose of them properly.
The powers of the Environmental Act could be used to impose new taxes on disposable items, help combat “throwaway culture” and encourage consumers to choose sustainable alternatives.
The new proposals follow ban on microbeads in rinsed personal care products, reductions in the number of plastic bags used in stores, and restrictions on the supply of disposable plastic straws, coffee stirrers and cotton buds.
Black Sheep Coffee is a company built with sustainability at the center – established in 2013, their priority is to ensure that the materials they use are all compostable and avoid plastic waste.
Raquel Mezquita Rincon, coffee operations manager, told Sky News: “Social responsibility and sustainability, we think it’s connected.
“We buy coffee in an ethical way, and we thought we should repeat it in all areas of the business, not only how we pick up the coffee, but also how we finally produce it for the customers.”
She added: “Since day one, we have been using non-plastic materials.
“If we started like that, I think it’s easier for any other company that opens or any company that wants to switch to non-plastic materials.”
The government aims to eliminate avoided plastic waste by 2042.
Jo Churchill, DEFRA minister, told Sky News: “Disposable plastic surgery is a threat.
“What we want to do is make sure we can get rid of the disposable plastic that is actually so difficult when you look at how they affect marine life and when you look at how they affect nature – how waste destroys some of our most beautiful places but also our city centers.
“That’s why it’s so important to get rid of disposable plastic.”
She added that phasing out plastics is a slower process in industries like medicine “where there are no alternatives”, meaning everything has to be done in a “measured way”.
In the UK, an estimated 1.1 billion disposable plates are used each year, as well as 4.25 billion disposable cutlery – most of which is plastic – but only 10% is recycled.
A general ban on disposable plastic is not welcomed by everyone.
Caroline Wiggins, CEO of eGreen, claims that disposable items during the pandemic have proven to be incredibly beneficial.
She told Sky News: “You remove the need for more people to touch a product and risk infection.
“It is recognized for having helped reduce infection and cross-infection in wards and hospitals.
“So the risk of banning something is extremely serious because we’ve had a pandemic that has highlighted these hygiene issues.”
Mrs Wiggins added that the “implication” of alternatives needs to be considered.
She said: “For example, if we turn to wood, where does it come from?
“Trees – and if you look at COP26, was one of the agenda items deforestation. “
Environment Minister George Eustice said: “There is a growing recognition of the damage that plastic causes to our environment and marine life in particular. We want to reduce the use of plastic in packaging and ban its use in connected objects. with waste.
“We have already banned plastic straws, stirrers and cotton swabs and are now planning to extend the ban to cutlery and balloon poles where alternative materials, such as wood, can be used.”
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