31 July 2020 by Caelia Quinault

Wales seeks single use plastics ban

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on plans to ban a range of single-use plastic items. 

Ahead of a beach clean in Anglesey, which was the first local authority in Wales to be given plastic free status, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said yesterday (July 30) she wanted to hear from the people of Wales on how the country can tackle the plastic waste problem.

Hannah Blythyn cleaning the beach with Gareth from KWT

This comes after the UK government set out plans to ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and drinks stirrers in England, due to come into force in October 2020 after being pushed back due to the pandemic (see letsrecycle.com story).

If the proposals are implemented, a range of single use, hard to recycle and commonly littered plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds, polystyrene food and drinks containers would be banned, subject to any exemptions, from autumn 2021.

This action is part of wider efforts to tackle the problem of plastic pollution, reduce litter and help move Wales towards a circular economy, the Welsh Government said.

The Welsh Government noted that littering was becoming more prominent again following the COVID-19 lock-down and easing of restrictions.

Impact

Ms Blythyn said: “Plastic pollution and the impact it has on our environment is regularly highlighted in the media, online and in conversations I have every day with people across Wales. It blights our communities and has a devastating impact on our wildlife.

“As plastic free July comes to an end and Wales emerges from lockdown, I want to hear from communities all over Wales on how we can work together to tackle litter and reduce our reliance on single plastics. The consultation I am launching today is an important step towards this ambition and the proposals it sets out will play an important part in our green recovery.

“Communities have led the way when it comes to reducing plastic waste. I hope the people of Wales will now take the opportunity to respond to this consultation and help us move forward on our journey towards a litter free Wales.

Lesley Jones, CEO of Keep Wales Tidy, said: “We welcome the launch of this important Welsh Government consultation. This consultation marks the next phase of an ongoing journey which we hope will lead to a series of bold policy actions by government to reduce plastic at source.”

The Welsh Government’s aim to reduce waste and unnecessary plastic is outlined in its circular economy strategy, Beyond Recycling, which aims for a zero waste Wales by 2050.

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