Today Hannah Blythyn, MS for Delyn and Deputy Minister in the Welsh Government, launched a consultation on proposals to ban some single use plastics in Wales.
Joining others at a beach clean in Anglesey, the first local authority in Wales to achieve plastic free status, Hannah said she wanted to hear from the people of Wales about how the country can be at the forefront of the global movement to tackle the plastic waste problem.
The ambition of the Welsh Government is to make Wales free from unnecessary, single use plastics, which could mean a range of single use, hard to recycle and commonly littered plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds, polystyrene food and drinks containers could be banned, if the proposals are implemented. This forms part of a wider effort to tackle plastic pollution, reduce litter and landfill, and 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 beaches. During the different and difficult period of the COVID-19 lock-down, 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 our proposals seek to accelerate this shift.
Launching the consultation during a beach clean in Anglesey, Hannah Blythyn MS 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 plastic free July comes to an end and 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 our circular economy strategy, Beyond Recycling, which aims for a zero waste Wales by 2050.
The consultation runs until 22 October 2020 can be accessed here.