Climate Action

Wales to ban single use plastics by 2021

The Welsh government hopes that the measures will make the country one of the world’s top recycling nations.

  • 19 March 2020
  • Ed Chidley

The Welsh government hopes that the measures will make the country one of the world’s top recycling nations.

The Welsh Government has set out plans designed to restrict the sale of single-use, hard to recycle and ‘commonly littered plastics’.

The Government say these measures will come under part of wider efforts to tackle the problem of plastic pollution - with aims to move Wales towards a circular economy.

Plastics expect to see outlawed include: plastic straws as well as plastic cutlery, polystyrene containers, balloon sticks, and cotton buds. The restrictions are to be put in place from 2021.

The move has been justified by the government as a means to tackle plastic pollution that affects ‘every’ environment in Wales. Emphasis has been placed on the harm done to Wales’ beaches and coasts which has damaged marine life.

In 2019, a Welsh Government study showed that a large proportion of litter collected on Welsh beaches was made up of plastic items included in the new ban.

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 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'."

Currently, a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England is set to come into force by next month, with legislation currently making its way through parliament.

Wales however, hopes to go further than the UK government by focusing on a longer list of single-use plastics which has recently been banned in a new EU directive. These new commitments are part of the Welsh government's circular economy strategy, ‘Beyond Recycling’, which aims to have a zero waste Wales by 2050.