Tell the Welsh Government to say goodbye to single-use plastic

Date posted: 24 August 2020

Do you want to make a huge difference to the amount of plastic we throw away each year? Then read on. The Welsh Government is asking if you think single-use items, like plastic cotton bud sticks, stirrers, and straws should be banned in Wales.

Many of these are already banned elsewhere in the UK, now its Wales’ turn and they’re going further by including takeaway items like plastic plates, cutlery and food and drinks containers.

How amazing would that be?

Plastic straws found on beachclean
© Natasha Ewins

Enough is enough, we don’t need these single-use plastic items. Please show you agree by taking the time to respond to the consultation.

Gill Bell,
Head of Conservation Wales

We’ve been recording the amount of single-use plastics on Welsh beaches for nearly 30 years. At last year’s Great British Beach Clean, plastic items and pieces were among the most commonly found items on beaches in Wales, with an average of 321 items found for every 100m of Welsh beach. That means you can’t take more than a few steps on most beaches in Wales without seeing plastic litter. Public support for this ban will also showcase that we are willing to reduce our reliance on avoidable single-use plastics.

Gill Bell, our Head of Conservation Wales said: “Enough is enough, we don’t need these single-use plastic items. Please show you agree by taking the time to respond to the consultation. Don’t be put off because it’s a government consultation and you may not be an expert - you don’t need to be. Take part and show that you want to see real change in Wales to stop all this unnecessary plastic.”

“We know it can be done, as we showed with the carrier bag charge. Just think how proud you will be that you helped this to happen in Wales. It’s the best five minutes of your time.”

We need your support - it‘s a little bit of paperwork but don’t worry, it’s not long and we’ve put some suggestions together to help you.

How to respond

It’s vital that as many people as possible take part in the new consultation. There are two ways to share your responses. If you have some time to spare you can complete the full government consultation here.

If you are short of time, we’ve put together a list of responses to the key questions from the consultation that we think you may want to say to Welsh Government. You don’t need to use our suggestions, please do feel free to use your own words - it’s your response, so let them know how you feel.

You can use our suggestions below to put together a response in an email to EQR@gov.wales.

Dear Environment Quality Division,

I am writing in response to the open consultation Reducing single use plastic in Wales.

1. Do you support our proposal to ban each of the single use plastic items suggested?

Yes, I support the ban, although it should go further and include other single-use plastics, like plastic sachets (these can’t be recycled). Banning is a better choice than charging more for these items - alternative solutions are available, which have much lower environmental impacts.

Recycling incentives like a Deposit Return Scheme should also be put in place in the next phase.

2. Do you agree the potential environmental and social benefits of our proposals will outweigh the potential impacts on people in Wales?

We don’t need these items - except, of course, for medical or health reasons. Preventing these things from getting into the ocean is key, as it is almost impossible to remove them afterwards. They’re not needed and are a waste of our precious resources. This will also help to reduce our carbon dependency.

Litter impacts negatively on tourism and can weaken coastal economics. Beach users regularly highlight cleanliness as being a critical component as to whether they will visit.

3. Do you agree with our assessment of the potential benefits and impacts our proposals will have on businesses, including manufacturing, in Wales?

It’s time to shift the Welsh economy to one of reuse, repair and green recovery, and away from a throw-away society. I know Welsh Government want to do this, and need our support. A reusable economy provides and supports local jobs in the community and paves the road to a low carbon future.

8. Do you agree the proposed timescale for the implementation of the bans provides sufficient time for businesses of all types to adapt?

Yes, it needs to be done as soon it’s possible. As cotton bud sticks, stirrers and straws, are already banned in England, we know it’s possible in Wales. Businesses which are also in England will already doing this, so it will be no different for them in Wales.

Many takeaway businesses have already moved away from items like polystyrene food containers, cups, cutlery and plates in the last few years in response to consumer pressure. Because of this, those that had haven’t yet will find it easier to do so.

Actions you can take