The United Kingdom has started its initiative to help combat the global climate crisis and plastic problem by banning single-use plastic products; most are used by the fast-food industry, like plates and cutleries. The UK is urging establishments and companies to use biodegradable products, which are less likely to impact the environment negatively.
The country has already made progress regarding its banning initiative, as they have issued bans on single-use plastic products such as straws, cotton buds, and stirrers. Even if this already looks like a strong statement, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is still aiming to get more products for a biodegradable alternative.
Starting in October, no one will be able to buy plastic products and materials. Instead, they are encouraged to try out biodegradable options that are far better and cheaper than their usual iterations. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said that they have been talking with public consultants, discussing their moves, particularly in England. While the deliberate ban is still expected to take effect in October, Scotland has already made the prohibition absolute, while Wales is eyeing to have their ban on plastics sometime in 2023.
According to statistics provided by the government, only 10% of all plastic waste is recycled. If we look at it closely, 5.35 pieces of cutlery and plates are being trashed annually. While the number seems and sounds gigantic, the UK is very positive that their ban and plastic use restriction will have a positive effect; for instance, in 2018, research showed that there had been a decrease in plastic waste in Britain’s seabed, right after the ban on free plastic bags have been amended. UK’s goal for a plastic-free country has been established, and they plan to end and eliminate plastic usage by at least 2042.
Other parts of the world have also been moving by passing laws and local regulations to combat the destructive effects of sing-use products. The European Union, for instance, also banned such items from helping with this global endeavor. India also joined the drive by banning several categories of single-use plastic, considering their population and general usage, which has been going up ever since. Canada is also in favor of biodegradable options as they are looking to impose penalties on those that will be important and manufacture plastic cutleries and bags, to be exact.
In the US, in California in particular, the government has made great strides in its fight against single-use plastic products. They have a goal to achieve in 2032 that all single-use products only be recyclable.
The United Nations has pressed its members and other countries that the world is facing an alarming plastic waste problem. If not taken care of right away and restrictions and laws aren’t passed to counteract the growing trend, then by the next decade, there will be irreversible damage that everyone on the planet will suffer from.
With the global problem expected to grow even further, the UN resolved it in 2022, with the sole goal of demolishing the plastic pollution problem, with an expected date of 2024.
Even though there have been great strides with the resolution with so many countries backing and making sure that they are also making their efforts to have the problem eradicated by the target date, many hurdles are still present, and it is not likely that we will see global progress yet. Big companies in the plastic production, gas, and oil industries have been fighting back with the proposals, saying that the UN’s bans are misguided.
Single-use plastic products not only contribute to the global waste problem but also to the alarming and increasing effects of climate change. If not taken care of immediately, effects might be deemed irreversible.