Single use plastics


Bans on single-use plastics continue to advance in most developed countries. Word must joined this initiative by restricting its use in order to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Innovation Manager at Packaging Cluster, highlights that this measure has the support and points out that this type of initiative, both public and private, is essential in the global battle against plastic waste and to promote sustainable initiatives among producers.

Significant step in its fight against plastic pollution with the introduction of new regulations banning several single-use plastic items.

In a bid to address the escalating problem of plastic pollution and litter, the government has implemented a series of bans and restrictions on single-use plastic items, taking effect.

We must prohibit the sale of single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers across various sectors, including retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry.

Restrictions will also be placed on the supply of single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls.

Environmental impact and public support

Single-use plastics are known for their long-lasting environmental impact, taking hundreds of years to decompose and causing harm to oceans, rivers and land.

Furthermore, the production and disposal of plastic items contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

The public has overwhelmingly supported these measures, with 95% of respondents in favour of the prohibitions following a government consultation. This broad support reflects a shared commitment to reducing plastic waste and littering, particularly as plastic cutlery ranked among the top 15 most littered items in the country in 2020.

Collaboration and future initiatives

The government has worked closely with industry stakeholders to facilitate their transition to compliance with the new regulations. Businesses were provided with nine months from the publication of the consultation response to prepare and deplete existing stock.

Collaboration with trade bodies and local authorities has also played a crucial role in ensuring businesses and Trading Standards officers are well-prepared for the implementation of the new rules.

The ban does not extend to single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls used as packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items. These items will be addressed within the government's plans for an extended producer responsibility scheme, designed to incentivise producers to minimise packaging and meet higher recycling targets.

These new measures are part of the government's broader commitment to combat plastic pollution and eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Prior actions included banning microbeads in personal care products in 2018, restricting the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in 2020 and introducing the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Additionally, the successful single-use carrier bag charge has substantially reduced plastic bag usage since its introduction in 2015.

Future plans involve implementing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and simplifying recycling collections, further advancing sustainability efforts across the public and private sectors.