A new law came into force on 1 October 2023 banning the use of single use plastics, with councils granted the ability to fine companies that fail to comply.
However, a FoI request submitted by Myco has shown that as of 13 November 2023, no fines had been issued. This despite complaints having been lodged with numerous councils across the UK.
In Sheffield, the city council launched three separate investigations on the back of alleged rule breaking, but did hand out any fines. Meanwhile, councils in Bath, Peterborough, Sutton and Brent also received multiple complaints without issuing fines.
Responding to the findings, the Yorkshire-based manufacturer slammed the councils tasked with enforcing the new law for a lack of action and urged them to initiate a crackdown “for the good of our planet”.
“This law was designed to deter businesses from using single use plastics, which are an environmental nightmare,” said John Shepherd, co-founder of Myco.
“However, the lack of fines is incredibly worrying and sends out a shocking message.”
'Councils not taking environment seriously enough'
Myco is currently in the process of ramping up production of its vertically farmed plant-based range, which the firm manufactures from its 20,000 square foot facility in Leeming Bar. The firm is focused on creating sustainable alternatives to meat and believes that tackling climate change is the responsibility of all businesses.
“While nobody wants to see anybody fined, especially in the current economic climate, businesses do have a duty to keep up-to-date with legislation,” continued Shepherd.
“Simply giving businesses a slap on the wrist or a dressing down just isn’t much of a deterrent I’m afraid. My worry is that councils don’t take the environment seriously enough. Just look at recycling – while household recycling is collected, businesses that produce far more often either have to drive it to a tip or put in general waste – so they need to up their game when it comes to the future of our planet.”
Prior to the ban being enforced, Britain was responsible for the use of almost 3bn single use plastic items each year. Commenting on the ban at the time of its introduction, environment minister Rebecca Pow said it represented “the next big step” in cracking down on waste.
“There’s clearly businesses across the country using single use plastic items, and the public have a duty of care to the planet to do their bit to get them to stop,” Shepherd said.
“There’s also now an urgency for us to all do more to protect this planet, and it doesn’t matter if it is the councils upholding the law or the public to be their eyes and ears – we all need to pull together and finally stamp out single use plastic for good.”