The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn, has launched a consultation on the Welsh Government’s proposals to ban a range of single use plastic items.
Ahead of a beach clean in Anglesey, which was the first local authority in Wales to be given plastic free status, Hannah Blythyn said she wanted to hear from the people of Wales on how the country can be at the forefront of the global drive to tackle the plastic waste problem.
The Welsh Government’s ambition is for a Wales free from unnecessary, single use plastics. If the proposals are implemented, a range of single use, hard to recycle and commonly littered plastic items – such as straws, cotton buds, and polystyrene food and drinks containers – would be banned. This action is part of wider efforts to tackle the problem of plastic pollution, reduce litter and help move Wales towards a circular economy.
Plastic pollution and litter affects every environment in Wales, with single use plastics making up a significant proportion of the litter found in Welsh streets, parks and on beaches. During the difficult period of the COVID-19 lockdown, many people across Wales had a rare opportunity to rediscover and gain a greater appreciation of their local areas. However, with restrictions easing, littering has become more prominent.
The proposals set out in the consultation will build on the efforts of communities across Wales to go plastic free by removing highly littered plastics from the supply chain and, therefore, the environment. Many businesses are already responding to the consumer demand for more sustainable products and these proposals seek to accelerate this shift.
Launching the consultation during a beach clean in Anglesey, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:
Plastic pollution and the impact it has on our environment is regularly highlighted in the media, online and in conversations I have every day with people across Wales. It blights our communities and has a devastating impact on our wildlife.
As Wales emerges from lockdown, I want to hear from communities all over Wales on how we can work together to tackle litter and reduce our reliance on single plastics. The consultation I am launching today is an important step towards this ambition and the proposals it sets out will play an important part in our green recovery.
Communities have led the way when it comes to reducing plastic waste. I hope the people of Wales will now take the opportunity to respond to this consultation and help us move forward on our journey towards a litter free Wales.
Lesley Jones, CEO Keep Wales Tidy, said:
We welcome the launch of this important Welsh Government consultation. The damage caused by plastics is far reaching and we are eager to see a drive towards reusable alternatives across society.
We have seen some big changes in plastic consumption and recognise the work being done by a number of major Welsh businesses and organisations to reduce the plastic that they use and include in their products, but there is still a long way to go.
This consultation marks the next phase of an ongoing journey which we hope will lead to a series of bold policy actions by government to reduce plastic at source.
The Welsh Government’s longstanding commitment to reducing waste and unnecessary plastic is outlined in its circular economy strategy, Beyond Recycling, which aims for a zero waste Wales by 2050.