Urging councils to crackdown on rule-breakers “for the good of our planet”

MYCO is urging councils to crackdown on single use plastics after it emerged that not one single firm was fined after they were banned.

COUNCILS have been urged to crackdown on single use plastics after it emerged that not one single firm was fined after they were banned.

Many single use plastics were banned by the Government from October 1.

However, an investigation has revealed that despite scores of reports of rule-breaking being made to scores of major councils across the UK, not one fine was issued in the first six weeks of the law.

Now the firm behind the probe has slammed the lack of action, urging councils to crackdown on rule-breakers “for the good of our planet”.

“This law was designed to deter businesses from using single use plastics, which are an environmental nightmare. However, the lack of fines is incredibly worrying and sends out a shocking message,” said John Shepherd, Co-founder of the plant-based protein manufacturer Myco.

The Yorkshire-based firm carried out the investigation as it prepares to launch the UK’s first ever range of vertically farmed plant-based products.

And John stressed that while companies such as Myco are working to improve sustainability and the environment, it was “incredibly disheartening” to see a lack of action around what was billed as a flagship law in the fight for a greener future.

Data disclosed to Myco under the Freedom of Information(FOI) Act revealed that complaints over single use plastics were lodged with several UK councils.

In Sheffield, the city council launched a trio of investigations on the back of alleged rule breaking following tip-offs from the public.

However, the FOI request revealed that the authority hadn’t issued a single fine.

In the likes of Bath, Peterborough, Sutton and Brent, multiple complaints were lodged with the council but in each area, no fines were issued.

Following one complaint in Brent, the council revealed that the mobile caterer at the centre of the complaint “was given advice” rather than a fine.,

“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,” added John.

“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.

The new law was introduced with much fanfare from the Government, which aimed to tackle to “scourge” of single use plastic, which can take centuries to break down and has been singled out as a major polluter in oceans and rivers across the planet.

Prior to the ban, Brits used almost three billion single use plastic items per year – but recycled barely ten per cent of them.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said the ban was “the next big step” in cracking down on harmful waste, whilst adding the Government had long been in communication with businesses to prepare them for the introduction of the law.

And polling found that 95 per cent of the public backed the law. However, Myco’s probe found that despite public support, several major councils – including Manchester, Edinburgh and the City of London – received no complaints about single use plastic.

“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,” added John.

“Whilst it may not seem like the crime of the century, single use plastic is incredibly damaging to our ecosystem and is killing sea wildlife.

“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.’”