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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.

Economic impacts

A model was developed to estimate impacts of  a ban or restriction in sale of single use plastics items. This presented in monetary terms net present value over a period from 2021 to 2030. The greatest economic impacts estimated were seen in the sales value. This increased by 11% (£14 million) across the single use plastics product group as a whole.

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.

Social impacts

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. 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.

Stakeholders highlighted the need to communicate any new rules and regulations in several languages, reflecting the different languages spoken in Wales.

Environmental impacts

Non-plastic alternatives were found for almost all products included in the EU’s Single Use Plastics Directive for the Welsh market. The only item with no alternative was beverage carton straws, which are 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. Generally, these studies found the single-use non-plastic products analysed performed better or on the same level as single-use plastic products.

Market Research

Preliminary market research identified manufacturers of both plastic and non-plastic items for these products in Wales. This indicates 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. However, if, if non-plastic products are a comparable cost these costs are likely to be small.

The majority of stakeholders consulted reported they would generally be supportive of a ban.

Reports

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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Contact

Isabella Malet-Lambert

Telephone: 0300 062 8250

Media

Telephone: 0300 025 8099

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