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Plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food and drink containers are to be banned in Wales as part of wider measures to make Wales the world’s top recycling nation, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn confirmed today.

First published:
18 March 2020
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

To mark Global Recycling Day, the Welsh Government’s plans are designed to restrict single-use, hard to recycle and commonly littered plastics, as part of wider efforts to tackle the problem of plastic pollution, and help move Wales towards a circular economy.

The single use plastics include:

  • straws
  • stirrers
  • cotton buds
  • balloon sticks
  • plates & cutlery, and
  • food and drinks containers made of expanded polystyrene
  • products made from oxo-degradable plastic; such as certain types of carrier bags

This is part of a wider, integrated approach to address the problems created by excess plastic and litter in communities.

A consultation on the proposals will take place in the coming months; with restrictions due to come into force in the first half of 2021.

Plastic pollution effects every environment in Wales, particularly Wales’ beaches and coasts which can cause harm to marine life. In a 2019 Welsh Government study, a large proportion of litter collected was made up of plastic items.

The aim of these new measures is to prevent litter from occurring in the first place, keeping valuable resources in the system and minimising the amount of waste transported to landfill sites.

A ban on a range of single-use plastics highlights the Welsh Government commitment to being a world leader in this area and demonstrates how Wales has led the way.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:

“The single use plastics we want to ban are hard to recycle and often found on the beaches and seas around our coast, blighting our beautiful country and harming our natural and marine environments.

“It is vital we don’t throw away our future – which is why we believe taking this direct action will have a significant impact on changing people’s behaviour and make them think about their waste when “on-the-go”.

“The measures I am announcing today are part of a range of potential solutions to the plastic problem. I am committed to working with stakeholders to understand the impact of this proposal, particularly on any citizens who may be reliant on some of the items we have included, to make sure we get it right.

We’ll be launching a consultation on the proposals soon, and I want to encourage the people of Wales to share their views with us.”

The longstanding commitment to reducing waste and unnecessary plastic, is outlined in the circular economy strategy, ‘Beyond Recycling’, which aims to have a zero waste Wales by 2050.