The 2020 Plastic Ban

Plastic Ban Main Article Image

In a report released yesterday, current Environment Secretary for the UK, Michael Gove, announced new plans to tackle plastic pollution with a plastic ban to take effect in England from next spring.

The new plastic ban will see plastic straws, plastic stirrers and cotton buds being removed from sale in England starting in Spring 2020.

It is estimated that nearly 4.7 billion plastic straws, 1.8 million plastic-stemmed cotton buds and over 316 million plastic stirrers are used in the country each year.

Due to the new measures being put into place, retailers along with food and drink stores will not be able to display plastic straws or provide customers with them.

An exception will be made however, for those who need to use plastic straws due to a disability or for medical reasons.

People who fall into this bracket will be able to purchase them from registered pharmacies and will be able to request them from restaurants and pubs.

Strong Backing for a Plastic Ban

From the consultations that were held on a plastic ban in England taking effect next year, it’s said that more than 80% of those in discussions fully back the ban on the sale and distribution of plastic straws.

In addition to this, 90% of the same group involved in the decision backed a ban on drinks stirrers and 89% also saw that a ban on cotton buds was necessary.

The damage of plastic on the environment has been widely covered for years, but the confirmed effects are now being widely discussed and monitored more than ever.

It is estimated that nearly 150 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans of the world each year.

Tragically, this means that confirmed figures of up to one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die from the consumption of plastic and from becoming trapped in plastic waste packaging.

How the Plastic Ban and Companies are Helping in the War Against Plastic

In addition to next year’s plastic ban in England, the introduction and production of paper straws which began last year is just one way that brands and companies are waging war on the plastic waste problem.

Avery Dennison

Shifting focus worldwide, Avery Dennison, who own the Avery brand, is just one of several companies playing their part in the reduction of plastic use.

The brand formed a new partnership last year with Plasticity, an organization which has been founded by the NGO Ocean Recovery Alliance which regularly holds forum discussions on the future of plastic and its effects on the planet.

Roland Simon, the Vice President of Global Procurement & Corporate Sustainability at Avery Dennison, explained during the announcement:

“Our goal in this partnership is to work together to collaborate with other companies across multiple industries, to exchange our expertise in materials science and technology with their unique capabilities, with a common ambition to solve challenging plastic waste.”

And later in September last year, Avery Dennison revealed they had made a contributory $200,000 (approx. £158,086) grant to The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization with a sole mission to use innovative technology in order to clean up half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Speaking at the time of Avery Dennison’s visit to the organization and upon exploring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with the team, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and President of the Avery Dennison Foundation, Alicia Procello, commented:

“We take our commitment to environmental sustainability seriously, and our support of The Ocean Cleanup is the latest example of that.
Years of research and dedication have enabled The Ocean Cleanup to innovate a solution that’s the first of its kind, and we are thrilled to support them in this endeavor.”

3M

3M, the company behind brands such as Post-It and Scotch, has taken a more product oriented approach in their bid to lessen the use of plastic ending up in landfills.

With quoted figures of 80% of discard plastic ending up in a landfill, only 12% being incinerated and only 9% being recycled, 3M have been aiming to produce products that support a circular economy of ‘refurbish, reuse, recycle.’

With this, they developed the 3M Precision Standing Desk – a desk made from 45% post-consumer recycled content and something produced to help the company in continuing to prove itself as a leader in environmental sustainability.

The Precision Standing Desk also helps 3M in meeting many of its ergonomics-based aims for the modern workplace too.

With the importance regularly being placed on how to improve health and wellbeing in the office, 3M are just one example of many brands and companies that are designing products that focus on not just improving the health of workers, but improving the health of the planet too.

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Sam Rose

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