Minister to finally ban disposable plastic plates, cups and cutlery that are killing our wildlife by the end of the year

  • Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is set to outlaw single-use plastic items
  • Ban on plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene cups
  • The move will help stop billions of pieces of plastic polluting the planet’s waterways

Fake plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups will be banned by the end of this year, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is about to ban a range of single-use items that end up in rivers and seas harming wildlife.

She will announce next week a ban on plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and some types of polystyrene cups and food containers.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is about to ban a range of single-use items that end up in rivers and seas harming wildlife. IMAGE: A man collects plastic waste in Indonesia

Announcing the move, he said it would have a ‘huge impact’ and prevent billions of pieces of plastic polluting the planet.

Ministers discussed plans to ban single-use plastic items in 2021, backed by overwhelming public support. This means that businesses that use them need to invest in sustainable alternatives to cut down on excess plastic.

Ms Coffey said: ‘A plastic fork can take 200 years to decompose – that’s two centuries in landfill or polluting our oceans.

‘I am determined to take further action to tackle this issue. We know there’s more to do, and we’ve heard the public call again.

‘This new ban will have a huge impact in helping to stop the pollution of billions of pieces of plastic and protect the natural environment for generations to come.’

The ban will not cover plastic plates, bowls and trays that are used as packaging for food and drink in supermarkets and shops – but will cover packaging for food and drink eaten in a restaurant, cafe or takeaway. Will cover

This is because takeaway packaging is covered by a separate scheme which will allow manufacturers to contribute to the cost of disposing of their plastic packaging.

It’s coming next year.

The proposals require parliamentary approval and will be tabled in England from October to give businesses time to prepare.

Each person currently uses an average of 37 single-use plastic cutlery items per year in England. It was among the top 15 most littered items in 2020.

Due to the permanence of plastics, items used for a few minutes can remain as litter in the countryside or at sea for centuries after breaking down into microplastics.

Ministers had previously banned plastic straws, stirrers, cotton buds, microbeads and other plastics that pose a threat to the environment.

Due to the permanence of plastics, items used for a few minutes can remain as litter in the countryside or at sea for centuries after breaking down into microplastics.

Due to the permanence of plastics, items used for a few minutes can remain as litter in the countryside or at sea for centuries after breaking down into microplastics.

Sister paper The Mail on Sunday, The Mail, has led the way in banning single-use items through its award-winning Turn the Tide on Plastics campaign.

This prompted ministers to introduce a 5p fee on plastic carrier bags in 2015, leading to a 95 per cent reduction in their use in main supermarkets.

The fee has since doubled and been extended to all retailers. Television presenter Kirsty Allsopp told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s not often you say hats off to the government, but give credit where credit is due.

‘It’s really positive and it’s the result of a campaign run by the Mail newspapers who have been brilliant at this.’

The Environment Act also gave ministers the power to charge for single-use items they no longer use – this gives them the ability to force producers to pay more if they use unsustainable packaging .

Ministers are consulting on a deposit return idea to encourage recycling and hope to legislate it by 2024.

Alison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of the charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘This is great news and definitely a step in the right direction.

‘As a society, we need to wean ourselves off all single-use items, which either end up in the dustbin or are used for a few minutes, to produce huge amounts of resources. After leaving, they fall on the ground.

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