Single-use items such as plastic cutlery, plates and trays are to be banned in England in a bid to reduce pollution, the government has confirmed.

Plastic items relating to takeaway food and drink, including food containers and cutlery, make up the largest share of litter in the world’s oceans, according to research, the Guardian has reported.

Now the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, is set to ban a suite of single-use plastic items.

The move follows a consultation on the issue by Defra that ran from November 2021 to February 2022.

“A plastic fork can take 200 years to decompose, that is two centuries in landfill or polluting our oceans,” said Coffey.

“I am determined to drive forward action to tackle this issue head on. We’ve already taken major steps in recent years – but we know there is more to do, and we have again listened to the public’s calls.

“This new ban will have a huge impact to stop the pollution of billions of pieces of plastic and help to protect the natural environment for future generations.”

What other European countries have banned single use plastic?

A similar ban has already been introduced in Scotland and Wales. In England, single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds were outlawed in 2020.

Euronews reports that England lags behind the EU, which introduced a ban on single-use plastic items in 2021. The ruling prohibits the sale of common pollutants including straws, plastic bottles, coffee cups and takeaway containers on EU markets.

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