Single use plastic cutlery set to be banned in the next few weeks

A ban on single-use plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups may be imposed in the next few weeks. It is expected that Environment Secretary Therese Coffey will announce that she will replace the items with biodegradable alternatives.

The move is planned to reduce the amount of single-use waste.

Every year in England around four billion items of plastic cutlery and one billion plates are thrown away.

It comes more than two years ago after ministers banned the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England.

Last year the Government launched a consultation into banning other disposable objects such as food and drink containers and balloon sticks.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said that reducing England’s reliance on single use plastic was vital to “transform our waste industry.”

Campaign group City to the Sea however argued that ministers needed to go much further against biodegradable plastics

They warned that these plastics “won’t break down in the natural environment and so will do nothing to tackle the plight of plastic pollution”.

A spokesperson for the group said that although they welcomed the ban on single use items, they warned that the alternatives could also be environmentally damaging.

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“Many of these bio-plastics are incredibly environmentally damaging and won’t break down in the natural environment and so will do nothing to tackle the plight of plastic pollution.

“We desperately need the Environment Secretary to clarify these comments.”

He added that the EU classes biodegradable plastics as “plastics£” and that it would put the UK “out of step with its neighbours”.

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