Britain’s Ban on Plastic

britain ban on plastic

British companies are culling their use of plastic products in a bid to end plastic waste for good. As a result, the nation’s first ever paper straw production line is set to open, making millions of paper straws a year for leading food chains like McDonald’s as they prepare for the ban on plastic straws in the UK.

Switching to Paper Straws

The new factory is expected to be running at full speed by 2019 and will be located in the town of Ebbw Vale, Wales. Run by Transcend Packaging, a newly created paper straw manufacturer, the plant will be the first paper straw factory in the UK in the last several decades. The company have already signed a deal to supply straws to 1,361 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the UK, as well as other restaurant groups.

Mark Varney, sales and marketing director of Transcend, said: “When the BBC’s Blue Planet II was on the telly and the government started talking about the dangers of plastic straws, we saw a niche in the market.”

He continued: “It is great that all these businesses are phasing out plastic straws, but the problem for them was where to get paper ones from. Everyone is having to import them from China, and when you look at the carbon footprint of that it kind of defeats the exercise.”

Varney explained that the new deal made with McDonald’s will be a positive move in reducing the amount of plastic waste, as he expects that more food companies will follow suit. He said: “Once a giant brand like McDonald’s says they are switching to paper, I suspect everyone else will follow.”

Stop the Use of Single Use Plastic

Since the plastic straw crisis emerged, a number of consumer groups have launched campaigns including The Last Straw and Straw Wars, in an effort to encourage businesses to reduce their use of plastic straws. But it’s not just plastic straws that people hope to ban, it’s the production of all single-use plastic altogether.

By 2020, Network Rail also have plans to ban the sale of plastic cups and cutlery from shops at their stations across the UK. As the company responsible for managing and maintaining some of the busiest stations across the nation, they hope to set an example to other companies to adopt a greener approach to plastic and recycling.

Plastic waste is becoming a growing problem for humans, animals and the environment. The majority of the world’s littered plastic ends up in the sea. This year, an estimated 8 billion kilos of plastic will be dumped into the world’s rivers, seas, walkways and waterways. With so much plastic continuously polluting our oceans, marine life poses an even higher risk of harm than ever before.

The Island That’s Home to 37 Million Pieces of Trash

Evidence of this environmental nightmare lies in a small island in the middle of the South Pacific, which has never been inhabited by people but is the home to more than 37 million pieces of plastic. Known as Henderson Island, it is one of the most remote places on Earth. In 2015, Jennifer Lavers, a researcher at the University of Tasmania, travelled to the island to investigate and uncover the extent of plastic pollution.

Shocked at what she discovered, she said: “global environmental agreements take a long time to negotiate and even longer to implement. In the meantime, we as individuals can do a lot – and we need to. Fast.”

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Sam Rose

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