New single-use plastic ban takes effect in England – here’s why its impact may be limited

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Single-use plastic and packaging has become an essential part of our lives. In the UK, households collectively throw away an estimated 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging each year.

One way to reduce the amount of plastic we use is to introduce bans. In 2020, the UK government banned the sale of several single-use plastic products in England including straws, stirrers and cotton buds – but with exceptions for medical use.

Now, in an effort to further combat plastic pollution, a new ban has been introduced. From October 1 2023, businesses in England are prohibited from selling several other single-use plastic products including plastic cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene cups.

But what will this ban actually change, and how effective is it likely to be? At the University of Portsmouth’s Global Plastics Policy Centre, we have reviewed more than 40 bans on plastic items to understand what makes such a policy successful.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2023


  • plastic
  • Policy

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