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Plastic cutlery and polystyrene cups could be banned in England to cut waste

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Single-use plastic plates, cutlery, and polystyrene cups could be banned in England as part of government efforts to cut waste.

Each person uses 18 single-use plastic plates and 37 single-use plastic items of cutlery annually in England, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

But the durability that makes plastic cutlery so useful also means it can last for centuries in landfill, the countryside, or the ocean.

The consultation would seek to ban single-use plastic cutlery, with alternative reusable alternatives made available to businesses.
Image: The aim of the proposals is to cut environmentally-damaging waste

More than one million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die every year after eating plastic waste or getting tangled in it.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We’ve all seen the damage that plastic does to our environment.

“It is right that we put in place measures that will tackle the plastic carelessly strewn across our parks and green spaces and washed up on beaches.

“We have made progress to turn the tide on plastic, banning the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, while our carrier bag charge has cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets.

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“Now we are looking to go a step further as we build back greener.

“These plans will help us stamp out the unnecessary use of plastics that wreak havoc with our natural environment.”

A government consultation will be launched in autumn on the possible ban.

Jo Morley, head of campaigns at City to Sea, said: “We welcome the news that the government are taking steps to tackle some of the most polluting single-use items.

“This is a much-needed move that we as campaigners have been calling for, along with thousands of our supporters and members of the public.

“We need now to take a leading role in banning unnecessary single-use plastics to see real benefits for the nation’s and the world’s wildlife.”

The proposals follow other environmental efforts, including a ban on microbeads, reducing the number of plastic bags in use, and restricting single-use straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

They would also form part of England’s commitment to preventing avoidable plastic waste by 2042, Defra said.

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