England has announced a planned ban on polystyrene cups and single-use plastic cutlery and plates. But frustrated activists say the government is moving way too slowly.

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This autumn, the English government will start coming up with a plan to curtail single-use plastic and polystyrene perhaps within a couple of years. Meanwhile, the EU banned these same items in July.

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The English government has a firmer plan for a plastic packaging tax, which will go into effect in April 2022. Companies that use plastic with less than 30% recycled content will have to pay a tax of £200 per ton of plastic. This measure seeks to encourage the use of recycled material.

“We’ve all seen the damage that plastic does to our environment,” said George Eustice, environment secretary, as reported by The Guardian. “It is right that we put in place measures that will tackle the plastic carelessly strewn across our parks and green spaces and washed up on beaches. We have made progress to turn the tide on plastic, now we are looking to go a step further.”

England has already successfully limited some plastics. Since supermarkets started charging for plastic bags in 2015, their use has dropped by 95%. In 2018, England banned plastic microbeads from use in washing products. In 2020, it was goodbye to plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton swabs — or cotton buds, as they’re called in England. However, England is still lagging on charging deposits on plastic bottles, which probably won’t happen until 2024 or 2025.

Americans and British people lead the world in per person plastic waste. According to British ministers, the average person uses 37 single-use forks, knives and spoons and 18 disposable plastic plates each year. Plastic litter is blamed for killing more than 100,000 sea mammals and turtles and 1 million birds annually worldwide.

Vegetable and fruit stickers, PVC cling film, teabags, plastic coffee pods and crisp packets may also find themselves forbidden in the future.

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Pixabay