ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to a consultation on reducing single-use plastic in Wales.

The Welsh Government is proposing a ban on nine single-use plastic items including; plastic straws, cotton buds and plastic stirrers, similar to the ban in England which came into effect on 1st October 2020.

The consultation proposes a ban on the following nine single-use items:

  • plastic stemmed cotton buds
  • cutlery (including knives, forks, spoons, sporks and chopsticks)
  • plates (including trays, platters, bowls and laminated paper plates)
  • beverage stirrers
  • straws
  • sticks for balloons
  • food containers made of expanded polystyrene
  • cups for beverages made of expanded polystyrene
  • oxo-degradable products (plastic products which break down by oxidation into micro-fragments) Examples include carrier bags and agricultural mulch film

Findings from the 2020 Local Shop Report revealed that 37% of stores offer a customer operated coffee machine, 14% with a serve over coffee machine and 12% with a food-to-go concession, many of which provide plastic straws and beverage stirrers for customer use.

In its submission ACS calls on the Welsh Government to provide further clarification on the timescale for the introduction of the ban to ensure a realistic sell-through period for retailers on the items covered by the ban.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Food service has become an important part of the convenience sector and it is essential that local shops continue to play their role in reducing plastic waste in the communities that they serve.

“It is important for the Welsh Government to consider the impact of Covid on local shops, the full extent to which is currently unknown, when deciding on the implementation period for the delivery of this policy. We will continue to engage with the Welsh Government on the delivery of their plans to ensure that it is workable for retailers.”

The full submission is available here.

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