Introducing market restrictions - or ‘bans’ - is an effective method to stop SUPs from being placed on the market

TARGET USERS: Government

KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Government bans have been largely implemented at the city level to curb single-use plastics.


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    Global consumption of plastics has increased more than 20 times in 50 years, and estimates predict consumption will double again by 2034 if action is not taken. Significant volumes of plastic end up in our seas and oceans, accounting for 85% of marine litter in Europe. Plastics dramatically impact the resilience of our environments and ability to provide crucial ecosystem services, with single-use plastics have been identified as the leading source of this pollution.



    Introducing market restrictions - or ‘bans’ - is an effective method that prevents SUPs from being placed on the market. These market restrictions can be placed on SUP cutlery and plates, expanded polystyrene beverage cups and food containers, and plastic bags.

    Regional and local governments can stipulate that reusables are the primary SUP replacement, ensuring the single-use plastic items banned are not replaced with other single-use materials (for example, bamboo) which would maintain linear and wasteful economies and shift pressures onto limited natural resources. Reusable alternatives are necessary.

    Bans on single-use plastics in specific locations or at specific events can be an effective means of introduction.



    While bans are very effective, it can be challenging to gain community support. Financial instruments are an effective alternative as it gives individuals and businesses choice, but strongly incentivizes an environmentally preferable choice.



    Enacting a legally binding obligation for reusable tableware for instore consumption in all food and beverage outlets were introduced in Taiwan and Berkeley, California.

    A ban was introduced into legislation in the region of Flanders in Belgium, whereby all single-use drinks items at public events (ranging from school parties to festivals), including single-use cups, plastic bottles and cans, would be banned.

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    A ban stimulates entrepeneurs to look for alternatives

    A ban is an excellent tool as long as alternatives are given. An excellent example is the Öko-Tut in Luxembourg that was a reusable bag offered together with a campaign to stimulate the switch.
    But be aware of what you ban: a Ban on plastic bags <35µ in Tasmania gave an Increased consumption of thicker bags (Richards, 2017)

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