Single-use ketchup sachets may get be axed soon

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Single-use plastic sachets of ketchup, mayonnaise and other condiments available at restaurants and takeaway joints may be axed soon, stated recent reports citing plans from the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) designed to cut down on plastic waste.

A government source said this week that a ban on plastic sachets was being considered because “alternatives do exist and sachets are very problematic”.

The government launched a call for evidence in November on how to tackle pollution from commonly littered single-use plastic items such as sachets, wet wipes and coffee cups. 

It said then that options included a ban and mandatory labelling to try to ensure they were disposed of correctly.

It emerged in the report that  single-use sauce sachets could “cause considerable harm to the marine and terrestrial environment when disposed of incorrectly”. 

Since they are small in size and heavily contaminated with food, they are hard to segregate and clean, making them unlikely to be recycled, said the report.

The ban would follow one on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, which were outlawed in most circumstances in 2020.

Miniature milk containers are also under scanner.

The British Takeaway Campaign and the Federation of Small Businesses agreed that single-use plastics had to be reduced, provided businesses had time to find alternatives.

There have been some efforts to create plastic-free replacements for sauce and condiment packets. Like, Notpla, a London-based startup, that creates biodegradable sauce packets out of brown seaweed.

A study last summer found that waste from takeaway food and drink were the dominant items in global ocean plastic.

The report, by scientists at the University of Cadiz, found that ten types of item made up 75 per cent of all ocean plastic, five of which were used for food or drink. Takeaway food containers and plastic cutlery made up nine per cent of all the litter sampled, while straws and stirrers represented 2.3 per cent. Plastic bags and plastic bottles topped the list.