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Sat 14th Jan 2023 - Single-use plastic plates and cutlery to be banned in England from October
Single-use plastic plates and cutlery to be banned in England from October: A range of single-use plastics will be banned in England, environment secretary Thérèse Coffey has announced. The ban will include single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks, and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers. The ban will be introduced from October 2023, allowing businesses time to prepare. According to estimates, England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery – most of which are plastic – and 721 million single-use plates – per year, but only 10% are recycled. From October, people won’t be able to buy these products from any business – this includes retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry. More than 95% of those who responded to the government’s consultation were in favour of the bans. Coffey said: “We all know the absolutely devastating impacts that plastic can have on our environment and wildlife. We have listened to the public and these new single-use plastics bans will continue our vital work to protect the environment for future generations. I am proud of our efforts in this area: we have banned microbeads, restricted the use of straws, stirrers and cotton buds and our carrier bag charge has successfully cut sales by more than 97% in the main supermarkets.” The ban will not apply to plates, trays, and bowls that are used as packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items, as these will be included in the government’s plans for an Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme – which will incentivise producers to use packaging that can be recycled and meet higher recycling targets. For example, this would include pre-packaged salad bowls and bowls filled with food at the counter of a takeaway. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Sustainability is a priority for the hospitality sector, with UKHospitality committed to the industry-wide goal of reaching net zero by 2040, which includes completely eliminating single-use plastics. Hospitality venues have already made huge strides in moving away from single-use plastics and using greener alternatives, but there were concerns over the practicalities of some elements of the proposed ban for venues that offer both eat-in and takeaway services. It’s positive news the government has listened to UKHospitality’s concerns about this and widened its packaging exemption to include these hybrid operators. What this exemption offers is further time for alternative markets of sustainable packaging to develop, which will allow businesses to go even further in their green initiatives when viable and affordable alternatives are more readily available.” Through the Environment Act, the government said it is bringing in further measures to tackle plastic pollution and litter. This includes a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers to recycle billions more plastic bottles and stop them being landfilled, incinerated, or littered via a small deposit on drinks products to incentivise people to recycle, and plans for consistent recycling collections for every household and business in England. 

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