Ketchup and mayonnaise sachets could be banned in new plans to curb plastic waste

·3-min read
Plastic sachets are set to be banned (Getty Images)
Plastic sachets are set to be banned (Getty Images)

Single-use plastic sachets for ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar are expected to be banned in the UK as part of government efforts to reduce plastic waste.

The news, which has been reported by The Sun and The Times, has divided social media users, with some criticising the initiative and others welcoming the change.

The plans, which have not yet been confirmed by the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, come after Environment Secretary George Eustice launched a call for evidence on “commonly littered and problematic plastic items” in November 2021.

“Single-use plastic sachets can cause considerable harm to the marine and terrestrial environment when disposed of incorrectly,” the call said, adding that sachets are unlikely to be recycled due to their small size, which makes it difficult to segregate and clean them.

According to a One Poll survey of 2,000 UK adults, eight out of 10 people think the sachets should be banned in the UK.

The British Takeaway Campaign said that, while it welcomes efforts to reduce plastic consumption, the change must not add “another costly burden on the smallest restaurants”.

“Takeaways need time to find affordable, non-plastic alternatives,” it said in a tweet on Tuesday, 11 January.

The Institute for Economic Affairs, meanwhile, accused the Government of “pursuing petty little projects” while the economy was “in a mess”

The plans have been criticised by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) as “petty regulation” and “micro-management” of businesses.

“With the economy in the doldrums and inflation rising, banning things seems to be a displacement activity for politicians,” Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA told Mail Online.

“It never seems to occur to them that placing endless regulation on businesses is a large part of the reason the economy is so sclerotic in the first place.”

Social media users are also divided. One person tweeted in support of the ban: “It might seem trivial right now. [But] the waste in sachets is unreal. Who’s ever asked for a sauce at McDonald’s drive through and been handed 4...”

Another said that doing away with plastic sachets in pubs and restaurants during a pandemic could pose a health hazard.

“Surely the environmental benefits of doing away with the single use plastic sachets have to be balanced against the health hazard of everyone getting their hands on the same bottle while eating?” they said.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs did not comment when contacted by The Independent.

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