Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey has announced a ban from October 2023 in England on a range of single-use plastic items, mostly relating to food. These included plates, trays, bowls, cutlery and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers. England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery — most of which are plastic — and 721 million single-use plates per year, but only 10% are recycled.

But on wet wipes, which are known to clog sewers, the Government said it was still “carefully considering further measures”. It said potential measures could include a future ban on wipes containing plastic, or mandatory labelling on packaging.

Defra also announced that a new research project will look into the impact of wet wipes on blockages in the sewage system, to inform future policy actions.

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