Thames21’s response to government’s single-use plastic consultation results


Date of release: 16 January 2023

Thames21’s response to government’s single-use plastic consultation results for England 

Debbie Leach, CEO at Thames21, said: “We are very disappointed that the government failed to include plans to ban plastic in wet wipes in their single-use plastic consultation results.

“While we welcome the news that single-use items such as plastic plates, trays, bowls and cutlery will be banned, the government has missed a highly important opportunity to ban plastic in wet wipes to protect our rivers and natural environment

“Wet wipes made with plastic fibres are contaminating our rivers and building up in large numbers on the River Thames foreshore, and the plastic is forming ‘wet wipe islands’ which are devastating for wildlife and for people. Many fish in the river have plastic fibres clogging up their digestive systems. The situation is only getting worse. If we are serious about reducing irrecoverable plastic waste in the natural environment, we must ban plastic in wet wipes.

“We are calling for multi-stakeholder action. This includes government introducing legislation to ban plastic in wet wipes, manufacturers producing non-plastic wet wipes and consumers not flushing wet wipes down the loo which can get into the river through sewage overflows
“We urge the government to rethink their decision and take swift action to put an end to this dreadful form of plastic pollution, which is doing great harm to the Thames and rivers across the country.”

About Thames21

Thames21 connects people with rivers by putting healthy rivers back at the heart of everyday life. We improve and restore rivers, educate and empower the community and campaign for positive change for the good of people and the environment. 

Media Contact

Liz Gyekye

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