England is in tune with the European Union (EU), and its Scottish and Welsh neighbors. London has decided to ban, from October, single-use plastic tableware in England, announced on Saturday January 14, the Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture (Defra).
Single-use plastic plates, cutlery, bowls and trays and certain types of polystyrene cups or packaging will also be banned, particularly from distributors, restaurants, hotels and take-away food sales. These measures were taken following a public consultation from which there emerged strong support for the elimination of these utensils from the market.
According to Defra, England uses 2.7 billion single-use cutlery per year, and only 10% is recycled. Companies that do not comply with the ban will be fined, and in the event of repeated violations, a criminal sanction could apply.
“I am proud of our efforts” to limit plastic pollution and protect the oceans, welcomed the Minister of the Environment, Therese Coffey, citing the ban already implemented “microbeads, straws, stirrers and cotton swabs” in plastic. She added that charging for plastic bags has caused their sales to drop by 97% in major supermarkets.
“We are inundated with plastic,” says Greenpeace
However, the ban will not apply to plates, trays and bowls used as packaging in “self-service pre-packaged meals and foods”. The government is studying the possibility of new measures targeting wipes, coffee filters and sachets.
Single-use plastic washing up utensils have already been banned in the EU since July 2021, and the Scottish and Welsh governments took such action last year.
The environmental NGO Greenpeace welcomed the ban on “certain articles” plastic but felt that “We are inundated with plastic and this decision is like taking a mop instead of going to turn off the tap”. In a press release, she adds that “we need the government to adopt a meaningful plastics reduction strategy with targets and systems for reuse” containers.
“It’s time to stop playing the game of lobbyists, promoting false solutions, and dumping our plastic waste in countries that are the least to blame for the climate crisis”she insists.