Bill banning single-use plastics expected to be laid before Senedd today
A key step in reducing the flow of plastic waste damaging wildlife and the environment in Wales will be made today as a Bill banning single-use plastics is expected to be laid before the Senedd.
Tackling the climate and nature emergencies is at the heart of the Welsh Government’s priorities. Most plastic is made from fossil fuels. Reducing it can assist our efforts towards net zero, helping reduce our carbon footprint to minimise the worst impacts of the climate emergency.
In 2011, Wales was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a charge for single-use carrier bags, and it is currently ranked as the world’s third best domestic recycler.
Now, the Welsh Government will be at the forefront of action on plastic with Wales set to become the first part of the UK to legislate against such a comprehensive list of single-use plastics.
The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill will make it an offence to supply or offer to supply littered and unnecessary disposable single-use plastic products to consumers in Wales.
It provides local authorities with powers to enforce the offence, and includes:
- Drinking straws – this product has an exemption for health needs
- Plastic stemmed cotton buds
- Balloon sticks
- Expanded and foamed extruded polystyrene fast-food containers
- Expanded and foamed extruded polystyrene cups
- Polystyrene lids for all cups and fast-food containers
- Thin plastic single-use carrier bags
- All products made of oxo-degradable plastic
The decision to include these products follows a consultation in 2020, with all having non-plastic or reusable alternatives.
Importantly, the Bill will also give Ministers the power, with the support of the Senedd, to add or remove products, placing Wales in the driving seat for future action.
The Welsh Government will also continue to work with industry, businesses, third sector bodies, academia, and others to help develop future policies.
The Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said:
“This is a big moment in our journey towards a plastic-free Wales.
“Single-use plastic products are often seen littered in our streets, parks and seas. Not only are they unsightly, but they have a devastating impact on our wildlife and environment.
“With a Team Wales effort, we have to say no to the single-use item culture, so we avoid leaving a toxic legacy of plastic for future generations to deal with.
“By thinking differently, making lifestyle changes and choosing re-usable products, we can save money and help fight the devastating impacts of climate change.”
Speaking of the Bill’s expected introduction to tackle the problem, Deputy Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, Louise Tambini said:
“Keep Wales Tidy welcomes legislation to ban single-use plastics. It is a positive step on our journey towards truly transforming the way we consume plastics and reduce waste as a nation.
“Crucially, it paves the way for industry to move away from polluting practices which are damaging our environment and harming our wildlife.
“We hope that the powers granted in the Bill will allow Wales to respond to emerging threats of other single-use products as consumer trends continue to evolve.”
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders MS said:
“This is typical Labour – late again and chasing headlines.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times Labour have promised to introduce this ban only for legislation to be kicked into the long grass.
“The ban on the sale of single use plastics has already been implemented in both England and Scotland, while Labour ministers have now just decided to begin passing legislation.
“When will Labour ministers stop dragging their heels on environmental issues and face the fact that their delays are damaging Wales?”
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