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Single-use plastic bans spread around the world

Single use plastic bans around the world

More and more countries are passing legislation that bans what are often called ‘problematic plastics’. The types of single-use plastic products playing a big role in our global plastic pollution crisis. Eish.

Problematic plastics are single-use items creating an awful lot of waste, and for which more sustainable options exist.

At GREEN HOME, we only stock compostable bioplastics made from plant starches. These items are NOT on the list of problematic plastics and have a viable end-of-life solution. We know they can break down into harmless organic compounds. Because of this, they represent a genuine opportunity to create a closed-loop system in sync with nature. A system with no waste.

We take a look at some of the global plastic bans currently in the works:

  • And as of this month, Victoria (Australia’s second most populous state) has now also banned the sale and supply of plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers and plates, among other items.
    Most Australian states now ban a significant number of problematic plastic containers.
  • Sri Lanka will ban plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery items from 1 June this year.
  • Canada has just banned bags, cutlery, containers, straws and stirrers made from problematic plastics. And more single-use plastics are slated to be phased out in the next three years.
  • New Zealand has ambitious plans to ban all single-use plastics by 2025. On 1 July this year the country will phase out plastic plates, bowls, cutlery and straws. As well as plastic produce bags. This is in addition to polystyrene containers, and several other items, which have already been banned.
  • Single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery and some polystyrene cups and food containers will be banned in England this October. This is on top of the straws, stirrers and cotton bud sticks that were banned in 2020.
  • Meanwhile, the EU implemented a ban on many single-use plastic items back in 2021, including straws, cutlery and polystyrene containers. And Scotland and Wales banned similar lists of products last year.
  • In the United Arab Emirates, a blanket ban on single-use plastic bags has been announced that will come into effect on 1 January 2024. A ban on many other single-use plastic and foam items is scheduled for two years later. This includes cups, cutlery, straws and containers.

Driving Change Locally

Plastic bans are supported by a strong majority of the public. Yup, people want an end to plastic pollution and the damage it’s causing. We all want healthy oceans and rivers, right?!

While legislation banning harmful plastics is very important, it’s not happening nearly fast enough. We’ve got a LOT more to do to protect ourselves and nature. Plastic pollution is still on the rise. And there is no way we’re going to recycle our way out of this mess.

In fact, public demand is a major driver of restrictions on single-use plastic, together with a ton of research documenting the harms.

Similarly, It often takes just one committed individual within an organisation to change that organisation for the better. Much of the action taken on plastic pollution has been driven by committed individuals creating change locally, often joining together to form grass-roots movements.

When it comes to the plastic pollution crisis, the maxim ‘think globally, act locally’ is apt. We each have power. And we can act long before government legislation is passed.

And it’s totally possible to keep our sense of humour while raising awareness and taking action.

Are we Doing Enough?

Critics argue that plastic bans are a drop in the ocean and don’t go far enough. And while we agree, we also think it’s important celebrate these huge steps forward.

Also, plastic bans often operate in phases. Further steps to reduce waste are often already seeded in the planning pipelines. For example, bans on cigarette filters, wet wipes, sachets and produce wrappers are next steps currently under investigation in England and France. And we might start seeing warning labels on some plastics in the future too.

Bans also need to be enforced. India’s big plastics ban, that went into effect last year, has been deemed a failure by some, partly due to lack of enforcement.

Conversely, in Rwanda, plastic bans are strictly enforced. That’s a big reason why Kigali claims the title of Africa’s cleanest city. Rwanda was early to implement some of the world’s strongest plastic bans. Bans that have been largely successful, despite ongoing challenges.

Let’s all keep the faith.

Celebrate each step forward.

And keep making the healthiest choices we can whilst pushing for positive change.

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