FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The Welsh government has introduced a bill which bans or restricts the sale of some of the most commonly littered single-use plastics in Wales, including a ban on plastic bags which are currently subject to a 5p charge.

The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill, which has been introduced as part of the Environment and climate change planning and strategy, prohibits the sale of nine single-use plastic products, comprising: cups, cutlery, drink-stirrers, lids for cups or takeaway food containers, straws, plates, balloon sticks, carrier bags and cotton buds.

The Environmental Protection Bill will make it an offence to supply or offer to supply littered and unnecessary disposable single-use plastic products to consumers in Wales.

Wales was the first UK nation to introduce a single-use plastic bag charge at 5p per bag, with Scotland and England following with their own plastic bag charges. The charge has been successful in reducing the amount of bags in circulation, as well as raising money for good causes.

In a submission on the draft legislation, ACS outlined support for the Bill as a measure to reduce plastic waste and has recommended a minimum implementation period of 12 months from when the government guidance on the regulations is published to implementation of the ban to allow retailers sufficient time to sell through existing stock and source alternative products.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience retailers have been making efforts to reduce single-use plastics in the communities that they serve and this has in part been achieved through the successful implementation of a charge for single-use plastic bags.

“Local shops are still waiting for clarification on the timescales for the introduction of a ban, not least to avoid confusion among consumers. Iit is also vital that there is a realistic sell-through period for retailers on the prohibited products. We will continue to engage with the Welsh government on delivery of their plans to ensure that this is workable for retailers.”