England’s single use plastics ban does not tackle takeaway boxes, warns Greenpeace

by | Sep 28, 2023 | Climate Change

Getty ImagesBy Daniel ThomasBusiness reporter, BBC NewsA ban on single-use plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene trays comes into force in England on Sunday.The new rules do not apply to plastic plates, trays and bowls used to pre-package food in shops and takeaways.Environmental campaigners say the ban does not go far enough to cut plastic waste, while some businesses told the BBC they were unaware of the new rules. The government said it was the “next big step” in its “journey to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042”. Wales plastics ban ‘may not be fully enforced until 2026’Waste from across world found on remote British islandPlastic pollution takes hundreds of years to break down, harms waterways and is a source of greenhouse gases.Under the ban retailers, takeaways, food vendors and other hospitality business will no longer be able to sell single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups or food containers. It follows a similar ban in 2022 on single-use straws, stirrers and cotton buds containing plastic. However, under an exemption to the new rules takeaways will still be able to use plastic containers, trays and wrap.Retailers can also continue using plastic plates, bowls and trays for pre-packaged food such as pre-filled salad bowls and ready meals. The government said these items were classed as “packaging” and would be tackled under separate rules meant to shift the costs of dealing with packaging waste away from local authorities and onto packaging producers. Anna Diski, plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK said “legislating token bans on a few single-use plastic items every few years… was completely inadequate to the scale of the problem”.”Instead of this piecemeal approach, the government needs to address the problem at source and roll out a serious strategy to cut how much plastic is being produced,” she added.According to research by takeaway delivery platform Just Eat, 70% of the public think the government should do more to reduce plastic use, while 73% would support a ban on plastic takeaway boxes.Robin Clark, global director of sustainability at Just Eat, told the BBC the UK takeaway industry used around 500 million single-use plastic boxes each year. The firm urged the government to make sustainable packaging alternatives more widely available and affordable for businesses and consumers.In September, the British Independent Retail Association, which works with more than 6,000 independent businesses, warned some firms were unaware of, or unprepared for, the new rules.Businesses that continue to supply banned single-use plastics after 1 October could be fined and local authorities will be carrying out inspections.But when we visited takeaway owner Herdy Ibrahim in Leeds he said: “To be honest with you I haven’t heard anything about it.”Across the road at Fast Fried Chicken, Jalal Ali said he had just bought two week supply of polystyrene boxes.”I’ve been to the warehouse yesterday and they still have plastic forks and polystyrene trays like I have here,” he said.Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said the government had worked “closely” with industry over the last nine months to help it transition to greener packaging. She said: “This new ban will protect the environment and help to cut litter – stopping plastic pollution dirtying our streets and threatening our wildlife.”This builds on world-leading bans on straws, stirrers and cotton buds, our single-use carrier bag charge and our plastic packaging tax.”Related TopicsPlasticEnvironmentLeedsGreenpeace …

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