Cross-party MPs call for ban on plastic pint cups

Today (13 July), a cross-party group of more than 20 MPs has called on the Government to outlaw single-use plastic pint cups. It is hoped that this will help combat plastic waste at music festivals and sporting events.

Plastic pint cupsIn the UK, it is estimated that 100 million plastic cups are used annually during music festivals and live sporting events, which are ‘rarely collected and processed for recycling’.

For this reason, MPs are backing NGO A Plastic Planet’s ‘Plastic Free Pint’ campaign. Amongst the parliamentarians supporting the immediate ban are Caroline Lucas and John McDonnell.

The call was made in an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, Martyn Day. If no urgent action is taken, it has been warned that the billions of single-use plastic pint cups used each year will end up polluting the environment.

The EDM follows polling conducted by consultancy Yonder in April, which found that 89 per cent of Britons want plastic pint cups banned in order to protect the environment. The polling also coincided with an open letter signed by parliamentarians and figures from the beer and live entertainment industry asking the Government to outlaw plastic pint cups.

The Government's single-use plastics ban – aiming to end the impact of highly polluting plastic items, covering plastic straws, drinks stirrers, and cotton buds – is expected to be expanded to include plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups, as well as plastic sachets.

However, Sian Sutherland – Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet – states that the Government must add plastic pint cups to the ban.

Plastic pint cups are the sixth-most commonly found plastic item in Britain’s rivers, and the eighth on the nation’s beaches. MPs are therefore labelling pint cups as ‘single-use items that will end up in landfill, in incinerators or directly in our natural environment’. On a global scale, A Plastic Planet says, 500 billion plastic cups are used each year.

Sian Sutherland said: “The Single-Use Plastics Ban is a powerful piece of legislation designed to end the scourge of plastic pollution. But currently, it doesn’t go far enough.

“The plastic pint cup is a glaring omission. Totally valueless, rarely recycled, these cups are destined to pollute Britain’s natural habitats for centuries to come.

“If the Government is to realise its ambition of being at the forefront of tackling plastic pollution among world leaders, it must listen to the country’s politicians and the public, and introduce an outright ban on plastic pint cups immediately.”

Martyn Day MP added: “Every year we see millions of cups left behind in the aftermath of music festivals and live sporting events, but these are rarely collected and processed for recycling.

“We cannot continue to allow plastic pint cups to desecrate our beautiful rivers and beaches in the way they are doing so. The Government must therefore outlaw plastic pint cups as a matter of urgency and bring an end to this highly-polluting item for good.”