Environmental campaigners A Plastic Planet have called on the UK to follow the European Union (EU) in banning single-use plastic sachets.

On 4 March 2024, the EU announced the decision to ban sauce sachets by 2030 as part of a deal on a new green packaging law.

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The legislation comes after years of campaigning by A Plastic Planet to eradicate the sachets.

In 2020, a coalition of more than 50 UK business leaders, politicians and campaigners successfully came together to demand the inclusion of plastic sachets in European and UK legislation, positioning them alongside other single-use items such as plastic straws and cotton buds.

Later that year, an Early Day Motion in the UK parliament, supported by 26 cross-party politicians, pressed for a ban on all non-food plastic sachets.

A government consultation, prompted by the campaign, revealed overwhelming support for a ban on single-use sachets in the UK, with only five percent of respondents opposed to such a measure.

But the sachets were absent from the single-use plastic ban introduced in October 2023, with the country also falling behind in banning wet wipes.

700m single-use plastic sachets are used in the UK every year.

A Plastic Planet’s “Re-use, Refill, Replace Revolution” strategy was launched in 2023. It outlines a ten-year roadmap to phase out single-use plastic items, including a proposal to ban sachets by the end of 2025, ahead of the EU’s timeline.

A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland commented: “A year’s worth of sachets measures 72 million kilometres – the equivalent of 189 trips between the Earth and the moon. Virtually all plastic sachets are destined to pollute our precious natural habitats, where they’ll break down into microplastics, enter our food chains and leach toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals into our soils and waters.”