In an effort to mitigate some of the plastic waste clogging the Earth's oceans, governments around the world are banning single-use plastics. These small items—which include cutlery, cups, balloons, and plastic bags—endanger sea creatures and remain in the ocean for hundreds of years. The UK joined the growing list of countries like India, Canada, and New Zealand, announcing its own ban on the production and use of single-use plastics.
The Environment Bill is still unofficial, but if it makes it through Parliament, it will be the latest move by the UK government to cut down plastic use. “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,” Environment Secretary George Eustice explains. “These plans will help us stamp out the unnecessary use of plastics that wreak havoc with our natural environment.”
Although it may take until April 2023 for the ban to become enforced, it's a large stride in the ongoing “war on plastic.” In addition, the government will be instituting a plastic packaging tax that will fine plastic materials not made of at least 30% recycled content. These recent moves will hopefully encourage people and businesses to seek out more sustainable options for cutlery which will, in turn, cut down on waste in the environment.
The UK is the latest country to introduce a single-plastics ban, joining the EU, India, New Zealand, and Canada.
The Environmental Bill has yet to go through Parliament and may take until April 2023 to take effect.