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Single-use plastic items to be banned in England

Single-use plastic items including cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups are reportedly to be banned in England by the UK government after a consultation.

Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary, is poised to unveil plans to phase out the items and replace them with biodegradable alternatives in the coming weeks, the Financial Times reported.

It noted that the Scottish and Welsh governments had already taken similar actions.

It comes after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) held a public consultation on a plan to ban the supply of single-use plastic items and polystyrene food and drink containers. This ran from November 2021 to February this year.

Single-use plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded and extruded polystyrene cups could all now be phased out in a bid to reduce plastic pollution.

At the end of the consultation, the newspaper claimed the ban was delayed by chaos in Westminster. It has now cited government insiders who reportedly claim that Coffey is preparing to approve the ban.

The UK government banned single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England in 2020.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are determined to go further and faster to reduce, reuse, and recycle more of our resources in order to transform our waste industry and deliver on our commitments in the ambitious 25-year environment plan. Cutting our reliance on single-use plastics is crucial.

“Having already banned single-use straws, stirrers and cotton buds and ended the sale of billons of single-use bags with our plastic bag charge, we will be responding soon to a consultation on further bans of plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded and extruded polystyrene cups.”

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