Single Use Plastic Ban – Consumers in the dark
As the first of the new packaging regulations start to be implemented how many of us were even aware that we (in England) had already banned some single use plastics?
From the 1st October 2020 it became illegal for businesses to supply some single use plastic products, such as straws and stirrers, to customers. The ban was planned to come into effect from April, however due to Covid this was delayed until now.
Surprisingly there has been little coverage of this despite the fact that we use millions of these products every year. It is estimated that, in England alone, we use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 1.8 billion plastic stemmed cotton buds and over 300 million plastic stirrers each year.
From April next year the price of plastic carrier bags will increase to 10p, and then from April 2022 a UK Plastic Tax will be implement but what impact will that really have? Unfortunately, a higher price / tax maybe the most attractive option as more sustainable choices tend to cost even more money.
As global packaging regulations ramp up, they will eventually force us (the packaging industry and consumers) to change but in the meantime, what will be the cost to our environment? I know I don’t want to leave a legacy of plastic pollution and climate change.
At least this is a step in the right direction, even if it is a smaller step than I would have liked. I firmly believe we need to make bigger changes if we are to eliminate plastic pollution and promote a circular economy and the first step has to be to educate and promote responsible choices.
Consumers may not have all the information to hand but many of us want to make a difference. We have to eliminate single use plastics or, at the very least, reduce them significantly and the only way we can do this is through responsible communication. Let’s stop ‘greenwashing’ and start celebrating (even the small) improvements.