Single-use plastic plates and cutlery may be soon off festive menu
People making their Christmas Day as easy as possible by using plastic plates and cutlery may be stopped in future.
Government ministers launched a 12-week public consultation on November 20 to hear views about phasing out single-use items by April 2023.
They want also to hear thoughts about limiting other polluting products such as polystyrene cups, wet wipes, tobacco filters and sachets and to encourage businesses and consumers to look at more sustainable alternatives.
Possible measures include seeing plastic banned in these items and mandatory labelling on the packaging to help people dispose of them correctly.
“It is a long overdue move,” said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox. “Around 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of cutlery are eaten off annually in England, but only 10 per cent are recycled.”
Last month Parliament passed the Environment Bill which gave them powers to introduce new restrictions and charges on single-use plastic.
The government said it was continuing to wage war on unnecessary wasteful plastic. This follows the ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds introduced in October, 2020 and the carrier bag charge in England which was increased from 5p to 10p from April 2021.
The environment is a devolved matter and already, Scotland has announced a ban from June 2022 on the use of plastic cutlery, drink stirrers and food containers.
Ron said the problem was that 422 million tonnes of plastic were being produced each year and half of the items were used just once and then thrown away.
A total of 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans annually, which then break up into smaller fragments called microplastics causing damage to our environment, as well as being eaten by the marine life and then by human beings further along the food chain.
At the same time the Government is trying to ensure every council in England provides a separate weekly food waste collection for their residents and be made to recycle all single-use tubs, trays and pots. At the moment only about half of England’s councils provide some kind of food collection service.
In the UK, 9.5 million tonnes of food are thrown away every year with 70 per cent of that coming from our homes. As well as wasting the produce, it also uses up the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport and package it. Plus, if the food goes to landfill, it rots and produces methane – a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.
“We have to turn back the tide on plastic pollution, reduce our waste and make better use of our resources to help rebuild a greener environment,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire.
To find out more about green energy and cutting back on plastic call Ron on 0845 474 6641.
For those who want to respond to the consultation, which closes on February 12, 2022, go to:
Caption: It may soon be Christmas past for using single-use plastic plates and cups as the government launches a public consultation about phasing them out by April 2023.