Introducing market restrictions - or ‘bans’ - is an effective method to stop single-use plastics from being placed on the market.
TARGET USERS: Government
KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Government bans have been largely implemented at the city level to curb the consumption of single-use plastics.
MORE INFORMATION: WWF Report
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.
Introducing market restrictions - or ‘bans’ - is an effective method that prevents single-use plastics (SUPs) from being placed on the market. Bans on single-use plastics in specific locations or at specific events can be an effective means of introduction. Regional and local governments can stipulate that reusables are the primary SUP replacement, ensuring the items banned are not replaced with other single-use materials, which would maintain linear and wasteful economies and shift pressures onto limited natural resources.
Tallinn, Estonia Bans Single-use Plastic Packaging at Public Events
Tallinn has imposed a city-wide ban on the use of single-use plastic packaging at public events. There are still some exemptions for compostable plastics during the transition towards plastic-free alternatives. However, the longer-term plan is to move towards allowing only reusable and refillable products at public events in the city.
Single-use Plastic Bans in Italy
Since January 2019, Italy has imposed a national ban on the production and selling of single-use plastic cotton buds. Anticipating the application of the EU “Single Use Plastic” directive, the Environment Minister Sergio Costa launched the “Plastic Free Challenge” to encourage municipalities and regions to eliminate several single-use plastic products from specific public places, such as municipal offices, school canteens, shops, festivals, fairs and markets. To date, over 50 municipalities and 15 regions of Italy have already risen to the challenge by issuing local laws in 2019 and 2020 that prohibit the use of disposable plastic products (plates, glasses, cutlery, bags, straws, crockery) and replace them with reusable and refill systems, or, when these are not available, certified compostable materials. The regions which took up the Plastic Free Challenge include: Marche, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Valle d’Aosta, and Tuscany.
Source: Seas at Risk.org
Reusable Tableware for In-store Consumption
Enacting a legally binding obligation for reusable tableware for in-store consumption in all food and beverage outlets have been 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.
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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