The EU has made progress on banning polluting single-use plastics but England is lagging behind, according to a new report.
The report from European NGO's, the Rethink Plastic Alliance, found that a “large majority” of EU countries were on track to implement the union’s directive banning the top 15 most polluting single-use plastics.
Scotland has introduced legislation and Wales is in the process, but England still has no draft legislation in the works on banning single-use plastics.
The ‘Single Use Plastics Directive Implementation Assessment Report’ said the directive was, “unprecedented, and has enabled European countries to take a significant step in the fight against plastic pollution with a united front.
“It has also generated awareness of the plastic pollution issue across the globe and inspired non-EU countries in developing their own measures eg. India, Canada, Chile, Japan.”
The initiative has also highlighted over 150 best practice solutions that can be used to phase out single-use plastics, displayed on the Seas at Risk website.
Last month, Wales revealed plans for legislation that would make it an offence to supply some of the most polluting disposable single-use plastic products, and claims the list of products it is banning is the most “comprehensive” in the UK.
The single-use plastic products it plans to ban include: cutlery, plates, stirrers, drinking straws (with exemption for health needs), plastic stemmed cotton buds, balloon sticks, expanded and foamed extruded polystyrene fast-food containers, expanded and foamed extruded polystyrene cups, polystyrene lids for all cups and fast-food containers, thin plastic single-use carrier bags, all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
“With a team Wales effort, we have to say no to the single-use item culture, so we avoid leaving a toxic legacy of plastic for future generations to deal with.”
Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change said: “This is a big moment in our journey towards a plastic-free Wales. Single-use plastic products are often seen littered in our streets, parks and seas. Not only are they unsightly, but they have a devastating impact on our wildlife and environment.
“With a team Wales effort, we have to say no to the single-use item culture, so we avoid leaving a toxic legacy of plastic for future generations to deal with.
“By thinking differently, making lifestyle changes and choosing re-usable products, we can save money and help fight the devastating impacts of climate change.”
Scotland’s ban on single use plastics came into force in June this year and includes cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks and other similar utensils), plates, beverage stirrers, food containers made of expanded polystyrene, cups and lids made of expanded polystyrene, as well as straws and balloon sticks (with health exemptions).
However, while England ran a consultation on banning single-use plastics a year ago, no further progress has been made.