Environment Secretary needs to clarify “worrying remarks” about plastics ban, City to Sea says

city to sea
City to Sea handing in its petition calling for a ban on single-use items to Rebecca Pow, the Defra minister for resources and waste.

Single-use plastic items, such as cutlery and plates, are set to be banned in England and replaced with biodegradable alternatives, according to a report by The Financial Times, a move criticised by City to Sea.

Responding to the report, Steve Hynd, Policy Manager at City to Sea, a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns to stop plastic pollution at source, said: “We strongly welcome the news that these polluting single-use items are set to be banned soon.

“This is what over 118,000 of our supporters called for with our petition earlier this year and what over 50,000 demanded when they responded to the Defra consultation.

“We’ve waited years longer than other countries, but I trust them when they now promise that their plan to ban these items will be released in the coming weeks.”

However, Hynd said it is “incredibly alarming” to read reports that these standards might be watered down to exempt “biodegradable” single-use alternatives.

The environmental group says this would go against the “spirit, science and law” that has been implemented already across The European Union (EU).

Many of these bio-plastics are incredibly environmentally damaging and won’t break down in the natural environment.

The EU banned these items through the EU’s Single-Use Plastic Directive in July 2021, City to Sea says. The group continues that the European Commission’s implementation guidance is clear: “Biodegradable/bio-based plastics are considered to be plastic under the SUP Directive.”

Hynd, continued: “Many of these bio-plastics are incredibly environmentally damaging and won’t break down in the natural environment and so will do nothing to tackle the plight of plastic pollution.

“We desperately need the Environment Secretary to clarify these comments and confirm that the UK will be matching the EU’s basic standards and including bio-plastics in this ban.

“This is both in line with the spirit of what our supporters called for, the science that our natural world demands and the law that other countries have implemented.”

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