Green Gauge: Take Action on Plastic

Work is stepping up a gear to tackle issues around plastics with WRAP – the body overseeing The UK Plastics Pact – publishing a list of eight problematic or unnecessary single- use plastics that Pact members are expected to remove from shelves by the end of 2020.

These are:

1. Disposable plastic cutlery

2. All polystyrene packaging

3. Cotton buds with plastic stems

4. Plastic stirrers

5. Oxo-degradables that break down creating microplastics

6. Plastic straws (The ban includes exemptions to ensure that those people with medical needs or a disability are able to continue to access plastic straws)

7. Disposable plastic plates and bowls

8. PVC packaging

The eight for elimination are accompanied by a second list of 19 plastic items which are to be prioritised for action to tackle problems associated with them by 2025. These include single use drinks bottles, disposable plastic cups, milk and salad dressing jiggers and PVC clingfilm. In doing so, the outcomes will be a reduction in the amount of plastic on the shelves, a reduction in demand for virgin plastic and avoiding up to one tonne of Co2 per tonne that is recycled. Scotland aims to be the first UK nation to ban plastic straws by the end of this year. Ireland has pledged to ban plastic straws and nine other single-use plastic items by 2021.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association has a toolkit to help you reduce plastic in your workplace. Visit thesra.org/campaign/plastics/ to download. The toolkit includes a step-by-step guide to phasing out disposables. Caterers are also advised to create an audit of their plastic waste and send it to their waste contractor to understand what materials they are able and unable to process.