The preliminary research assesses the impact in Wales of a ban or restriction in sale of items in the EU’s single-use plastics directive.
This is the latest release
Estimates were made of economic, social and environmental impacts of a or restrictions in sale in Wales of the items in the EU’s Single Use Plastics Directive using a quantitative model and presented in monetary terms of net present value over a period from 2021 to 2030. The greatest economic impacts estimated were seen in the sales value, which increased by 11% (£14 million) across the product group as a whole.
The revenue to UK manufacturers is the second most significant economic impact estimated in the model, increasing by 46% (£9 million). This revenue could be retained in the Welsh economy if Welsh manufacturers respond to the demand for non-plastic products.
Stakeholders discussed potential social impacts, particularly to vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities or decreased mobility. There was overwhelming support for exemptions for such groups and for medical applications. While some also argued for an exemption if food safety issues could be proven, others believed that no such exemptions should be allowed to avoid loopholes and distortion of the market.
The need to communicate any new rules and regulations in several languages was highlighted by stakeholders in respect to the different languages spoken in Wales.
Non-plastic alternatives were found for all the single use plastic products included in the EU’s Single Use Plastics Directive for the Welsh market, with the exception of beverage carton straws, which are also used to pierce the seal on the drink.
Desk research found two recent life cycle analysis studies that compared the environmental impacts of single-use plastic and non-plastic products for many of the items covered by the ban in the EU Directive. On the whole, the studies found that the single-use non-plastic products analysed performed better or on the same level as single-use plastic products.
Preliminary market research identified manufacturers of both plastic and non-plastic items for these products in Wales, indicating that a ban or restriction in sale will create both opportunities and challenges for businesses in Wales
A ban or restriction in sale will also affect Welsh businesses where they use or sell the products. There will be transition costs, but the research with stakeholders suggested that overall impacts for these business are likely to be small if non-plastic products are a comparable cost and where these products represent a small proportion of business costs as a whole.
The majority of stakeholders consulted reported they would generally be supportive of a ban.
Preliminary research to assess the impacts of a ban or restrictions in sale in Wales of items in the EU's single use plastics directive
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Preliminary research to assess the impacts of a ban or restrictions in sale in Wales of items in the EU's single use plastics directive: summary
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