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UK single-use plastics ban targets ‘avoidable waste’

The UK government is extending its ban on single-use plastics to include plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and certain kinds of polystyrene cups and food containers.

The UK has already outlawed the general use of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and environment secretary George Eustice says the goal is to eliminate all ‘avoidable’ plastic waste.

The UK uses over 1.1 billion single-use plates, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups and 4.3 billion items of single-use cutlery (mostly plastic) per year. Only 10% is recycled upon disposal.

The ban was proposed in late November and follows a 12-week public consultation. Businesses and consumers are advised to move towards more sustainable alternatives.

The Government is going further by launching a separate call for evidence to address other sources of plastic pollution. This will ask stakeholders for views on tackling commonly littered plastics such as wet wipes and tobacco filters.

It’s possible plastic in these items will also be banned, backed by mandatory labelling on packaging to help consumers dispose of them correctly. The government will also examine how to put responsibility at the manufacturers’ door.

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