Over the years, we have seen many single use plastics become banned or drop massively in popularity. Plastic straws, carrier bags, and polystyrene food containers were all once commonplace items in our daily lives and have now been eliminated from the mainstream. These kind of single use plastics are impossible for recycling equipment to handle, and inevitably end up in landfill.
Many countries have introduced bans on a lot of single use plastic products, and consumers have welcomed these changes with open arms. As climate change and sustainability is still a battle we are fighting, it is clear that more plastic products will face the same fate.
Bans On Single Use Plastics
Petroleum based plastics are notoriously challenging to recycle and devastating to the natural world we live in. Plastic bans have been introduced all across the planet to help combat these concerns. Consumers are more aware than ever that plastic recycling is difficult to handle, and that single use products are massively overproduced. Not only do these plastics have a negative impact on the planet, but also on our health. Humans ingest almost 75 thousand microplastic particles every single year. These are the tiny chemicals which come from mismanaged plastics which sit in landfill for thousands of years. All this has led to the banning of many single use plastic products.
- Plastic Carrier Bags: Plastic carrier bags cannot be placed into recycling machines as they can clog the equipment and cause damage. The retail industry has relied on these bags for years, but in 2014, the UK Government introduced a charge for carrier bags. Consumers now must pay 10p per bag in all shops and outlets, encouraging people to reuse bags instead of getting a new one every time.
- Plastic Straws: Back in 2018, a video of a plastic straw stuck in the nose of a sea turtle went viral and captured the heart of consumers around the world. From then on, many huge brands eliminated plastic straws from their stores, including Disney, Starbucks, Hyatt, and American Airlines. In 2020, the UK Government banned the sale of plastic straws.
- Stirrers And Cotton Buds: Alongside the banning of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds have also been forbidden in the UK.
The Future Of Single Use Plastics
Although many single use plastics are already banned, and the number of consumers choosing these items is dwindling, more is certain to be done. The Government has already unveiled plans to ban plastic plates, cutlery, and cups in the near future, and is conducting a consultation on the situation with single use plastics. Wet wipes, plastic sachets, and tobacco filters are also being examined during the consultation, with further bans on plastic expected imminently. There are plans for a plastic bottle return scheme to be in place in 2024, and a new plastic packaging tax is coming in to force in April 2022. This tax will be encouraging the use of recycling machinery for plastic waste.
To find out more about recycling equipment for plastic, contact our team today.