Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change
Today, the Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill (‘the Bill’) and Explanatory Memorandum has been laid before Senedd Cymru (‘the Senedd’).
This Bill is a key step in halting the flow of plastic pollution into our environment and forms part of our response to the climate and nature emergency. The Bill makes it an offence for a person to supply or offer to supply (including for free), the following commonly littered and unnecessary single-use plastic (SUP) products to a consumer in Wales:
- drinking straws – this product has an 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 – this product has an exemption for health or safety needs
- all products made of oxo-degradable plastic
The Bill provides local authorities with powers to enforce this offence.
Importantly, the Bill includes a regulation-making power to enable Welsh Ministers to add or amend the SUP products that are subject to this offence. They will first be required to report on the products that they are considering. Such regulations will be made subject to the approval of the Senedd.
We must take urgent action to avoid leaving a toxic legacy of plastic for future generations to deal with. As a government, we are building on the momentum of communities across Wales who have chosen to go plastic free, defy our throwaway culture and tackle littering.
This Made-in-Wales Bill will enable the Welsh Government to be at the forefront of action on plastic and place Welsh Ministers in the driving seat for future action in this area. Members of the Senedd have been calling for urgent action to curb the use of non-essential and non-medical single use plastics. I look forward to working with them on the provisions in the Bill during the coming months.