Britain’s Conservative Government Sticks It to Consumers With Plastic Fork Ban
The British government is continuing its long, fruitless war on single-use plastics with the announcement that it will be prohibiting plastic plates and cutlery in England.
“A plastic fork can take 200 years to decompose—that is two centuries in landfill or polluting our oceans,” said United Kingdom Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey to The Daily Mail over the weekend. “This new ban will have a huge impact to stop the pollution of billions of pieces of plastic.”
Since October 2020, the British government has enforced a ban on providing plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds to customers in England. The regional governments of Scotland and Wales have adopted similar policies.
Details are still pending on what precisely will be prohibited by the U.K. government’s new ban. The Daily Mail reports that it will target plastic plates, cups, and utensils distributed by restaurants but not grocery stores.
Some environmentalists are already criticizing the new ban for not being comprehensive enough. “This is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap,” said a Greenpeace U.K. spokesperson to The Guardian. The group wants far broader restrictions on the use of plastics.
But the truth is, regardless of how much plastic is being banned, these are all fights on the margins of the global problem of plastic pollution.
The vast majority of plastic that ends up in waterways and oceans is sourced from East Asian, African, and South American countries with poor waste management systems. Rich countries produce a lot more plastic waste, in aggregate and per capita, but almost all of it ends up in landfills, recycling plants, or incinerators.
Our World in Data notes that the U.K. produces twice as much plastic waste as the Philippines but that the average Filipino produces 100 times the mismanaged plastic as the average Briton.
Article from Reason.com