The UK has banned some single-use plastics. Activists say it's a small step. - Liberty

Friday, October 13, 2023

The UK has banned some single-use plastics. Activists say it's a small step.


The UK will ban single-use plastic cutlery as part of a wider ban in October. Justin Tallis

When England announced last weekend that it would ban some single-use plastic items such as cutlery and plates, environmentalists welcomed the move, calling it lukewarm applause rather than thunderous applause, rather than doing nothing. said it was better. called. Being asked is also considered a good move. Further changes are required.

While they were grateful for the action, some activists said the move comes after similar actions by their neighbors in the UK and ends up in landfills and oceans that take decades to decompose. said it was not ambitious to promote such single-use plastics.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said Nina Schrank, senior campaigner at Greenpeace UK. "But it's a small step."

England will ban single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, and some polystyrene cups and food containers from October. According to the government, 2.7 billion single-use cutlery and 721 million single-use plates are used in the UK annually, but only 10% of her is recycled.

England plans to ban plastic straws, cotton swabs, and drink stirrers in 2020. When announcing the new ban on Saturday, government officials said they were considering further measures, including a ban and mandatory labeling of plastic products such as wet wipes and cigarette filters. to help people. Please dispose of it properly.

The UK's Environment Agency said in a statement that the government would "facilitate" a beverage container deposit refund initiative and plan a "consistent UK recycling collection".

"Plastic is a scourge that devastates our streets and beautiful countryside, and we are determined to move away from a throwaway culture," Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said in a statement.

Governments around the world have adopted single-use plastic bans as a way to reduce plastic, most commonly focusing on products that can be made from other materials, such as straws and bags.

Proponents say the ban has been largely successful in limiting the types of plastic products covered, but a more comprehensive approach is needed. He later said Britain was lagging behind other countries.

The European Union approved a ban on single-use plastic products in 2018, which came into force three years later. England's neighbors Scotland and Wales each banned similar products last year. (Northern Ireland, her fourth member of the UK, does not.)

The United States does not have a federal ban on single-use plastic items, but some cities and states have their own prohibitions on things like plastic bags and straws. Reduce the use of plastic products and phase out single-use packaging that cannot be recycled or composted.

Environmental advocates say the UK ban on not including plastic takeout containers is not widespread enough. Tolga Akmen/Agency

A report by the Brussels-based group Seas at Risk found that the European ban had mixed consequences, with some countries getting ahead of others. It wasn't. The European Directive also addresses other common forms of single-use plastic, such as takeaway food containers, which the UK did not ban.

Frederique Mongodin, Senior Marine Litter Policy Officer, Seas at Risk, said:

When is the time to move? "Very late," she said.

With a European directive underway, activists are looking beyond individual product bans to measures such as promoting reusable containers.

Greenpeace rep Schrank said many of the biggest sources of plastic waste, such as food and grocery packaging, remain untouched. Snack bags and fruit and vegetable packages are among the most common items found in plastic waste, she said.

Rather than individual targets, she said she wants an aggressive government target to reduce single-use plastics by 50 percent.

It's not just about single-use plastic. Replacing single-use plastics with single-use products made from other materials is highly effective, says Larissa Hel-Copelo, manager of the consumption and production campaign for Zero Waste Europe.

For UK activists, all eyes are on what happens next. Steve Hind, policy director at Bristol-based environmental group City to Sea, said the ban was welcome but "these are agreed on minimum standards".

"This ban will help England catch up with other countries that have already implemented similar bans several years ago," he said. To become a true "global leader" in tackling plastic pollution, We need to go further. "