On Sunday (1st October) government intervention came into effect that saw the banning of a range of single-use plastic items, as well as imposing restrictions on others.
Plastic cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene cups have been banned from sale by any business, regardless of the industry, with the supply of single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls also being restricted.
Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, said:
“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.
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.”
Over the course of 2023, the government has been working closely with relevant trade bodies and local authorities to help form the guidance, as well as to prepare businesses and Trading Standards officers for the new regulations. This preparation work also saw consultation responses overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed restrictions, with many involved wanting to “do the right thing for the environment.”
With the ban coming into play over the weekend, the Local Government Association (LGA) has responded with warnings and guidance for government, for the benefit of local councils.
Councils will be responsible for the enforcement of the restrictions, however the LGA has concerns about the fact that not enough businesses and individuals may be aware of the restrictions, which could risk increasing costs for councils when they enforce the ban, as well as continuing to collect and dispose of the restricted materials.
Responding to the ban, the LGA’s Environment Spokesperson Cllr Darren Rodwell said:
“Councils are sure that businesses want to comply with these new regulations and keep plastic waste to a minimum.
“However, we are concerned that some local businesses and consumers are not aware of the impending ban on these materials and would encourage everyone to take a look at the materials impacted by it.
“This is a valuable policy to reduce waste but there is still more to do. We are keen the Government introduces Extended Producer Responsibility to incentivise producers to reduce waste and increase recyclable packaging, as well as enable councils to work with communities to improve recycling.”
Alongside the concerns, the LGA has also called on the government introduce the new Extended Producer Responsibility to ensure that producers of the materials are incentivised to reduce their waste, as well as increasing the amount of recyclable packaging that they produce.
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