Wirral takeaways offer thoughts on single-use plastic ban

Takeaways gave their thoughts after the government brought in a ban on several plastic items used in their billions.

The ban, brought in on 1 October, means no business including takeaways can sell single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups, and food containers. Supplies of single-use plastic plays, trays and bowls have also been restricted.

The government has brought the ban in to help reduce plastic pollution and cited research showing 2.7bn items of plastic cutlery and 721m plastic plates are used every year. Only 10% of these are recycled.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said, “This builds on world-leading bans on straws, stirrers, and cotton buds, our single-use carrier bag charge and our plastic packaging tax, helping us on our journey to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.”

The ban will be enforced by Wirral Council and other local authorities through trading standards teams but concerns have been raised not enough businesses know about the changes.

Alex Avlontis who runs a traditional chippy in Wallasey said, “From what I know (packaging) companies cannot sell them and whatever we are left with, we just use up and we can’t buy anymore.”

He said he found about the change two months ago, adding, “It’s really good. I prefer it to be honest. It’s bad for the environment and for health. If you use plastic forks, little bits probably get eaten so it might be better for you in the long run.”

Oscar Lee who works in Lucky Garden in Wallasey Village said they found a month ago through Wirral Council. He said, “We have already replaced a good proportion of our plastic boxes,” adding: “It’s definitely something we can get used to but it’s quite a bit more expensive.”

However, not everyone has heard about the ban. Two takeaways found out when they were approached by the LDRS to talk about it.

Abdul Ahmed from Bella Pizza said, “What difference does it actually make? It’s never been a huge concern. People need it to eat their food. It’s down to them, it’s each and every person when it comes to the environment.”

Hawbash Abbas from Pizza Point said, “We have heard of it. We threw it away. Somebody told us last weekend, he has a takeaway and said be careful because of this ban.”

He thinks they should have been notified, adding, “We should get a letter from somewhere that they’re banning these, I heard this from my friend. I think it’s a good thing but they should have let us know.”

For some though, the new ban means no changes are needed. Gus Ahmed has been running Sawanz Ahmed for two years and said they’ve always used non-plastic cutlery and containers.

He said, “It was our way of saying we are trying to be environmentally friendly because they are easy to recycle and slowly others started to follow. We were one of the first here and now there is a few. It’s brilliant. It’s fantastic.”

The Local Government Association (LGA) has raised concerns about the pressure this may put on councils as well as lack of awareness from businesses. The LGA has also called on the government to incentivise producers to reduce waste and increase recyclable packaging.

Before the ban came into force, Cllr Darren Rodwell, Environment spokesperson for the LGA, said, “Councils are sure that businesses want to comply with these new regulations and keep plastic waste to a minimum.

“However, we are concerned that some local businesses and consumers are not aware of the impending ban on these materials and would encourage everyone to take a look at the materials impacted by it.

“This is a valuable policy to reduce waste but there is still more to do. We are keen the Government introduces Extended Producer Responsibility to incentivise producers to reduce waste and increase recyclable packaging, as well as enable councils to work with communities to improve recycling.”

Image: Brian Yurasits

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