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New poll: 89 percent of Britons want plastic pint cups banned

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SOME 89 percent of Britons want plastic pint cups banned to protect the environment, a new poll will reveal today.

The poll was conducted this month by Yonder on behalf of A Plastic Planet.

Polling also revealed 75 percent of Britons believe plastic pint cups ‘cheapen the experience’ of enjoying their favourite beer.

The survey was carried out across 2,073 Britons between the 11th and 12th of April 2022.

Globally 500 billion plastic cups are used each year.[i]

If lined up end-to-end these cups would span 50 million kilometres – or more than 130 trips from the Earth to the Moon.[ii]

In the UK, some 100 million plastic cups are used annually.[iii]

The polling coincides with the publication of an open letter signed by experts echoing Britons’ calls for a ban on plastic pint cups.

Experts are backing A Plastic Planet’s Plastic Free Pint campaign.

Richard Dilley, co-founder of Really Good Beer Society, and Liberal Democrat Peer and member of the Beer All-Party Parliamentary Group Lord Jones of Cheltenham have backed the campaign in the open letter.

The letter is backed too by Alex Lewis – Venue Director of the Kia Oval.

Environment Select Committee member Ian Byrne MP (Labour), Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour), and Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse also supported the calls for a ban.  

The letter said: “In Britain the plastic pint cup is one of the worst offenders when it comes to the ugly scourge of waste. 

“Rarely recycled and totally valueless, they remain strewn across the landscape in the aftermath of big nights out, music festivals and sporting events.

“Plastic pint cups too taint the experience of buying a round. Britons are routinely charged £7 for a pint of beer.

“And yet consumers are forced to drink their expensive purchase out of a cheap plastic cup that often ruins the taste.”  

The UK hosts more than 7,000 outdoor events attended by around 85 million people each year, the majority of which will purchase a beverage in a plastic pint cup.[iv]

The strongest support for a ban could be found in the North East, with 95 percent wanting plastic pint cups outlawed, followed by Yorkshire (94 percent) and then those living in Scotland (92 percent).

Some 92 percent of women asked believed plastic pint cups should be outlawed, while 86 percent of men believed they should be banned.

The highest agreement from respondents that a plastic cup ruins the taste of beer could be found in Eastern (84 percent), followed by the North West (79 percent) and West Midlands (79 percent).

With beer prices skyrocketing A Plastic Planet warned the environmental impact of the cup leaves little value for money for both customers and the planet.

Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said: “The British public and the planet are being short-changed when it comes to the plastic pint cup. Totally valueless, those paying hard-earned cash deserve better. We are actually paying twice – once for the plastic pint and then the heaviest price of all  – the environmental devastation caused by this toxic and indestructible material. This double whammy is simply wrong.

“We’ve seen before the unsightly scenes when thousands of plastic pint cups are left behind in the wake of music festivals and live events, but these are rarely going to be collected and processed. With plastic recycling rates so low in the UK, it is no longer acceptable for us to allow such single use items to exist.

“The public agrees too. The Government must therefore act urgently and bring an end to the plastic pint cup for good.”

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[ii] A typically-sized plastic cup is 10 cm in length. The world gets through 500 billion plastic cups each year. Lined up end to end these cups would stretch for 5 trillion cm or 50 million km – equivalent to 130 trips from Earth to the Moon. (The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is 384 400 km)

[iii] It Doesn’t Stack Up: How Disposables Compare to Reusables, Hope Solutions and ZAP Concepts (UK & Ireland) (2018)

[iv] Chiara Badiali and Chris Johnson, Show Must Go On Report, Vision: 2025 (2020)

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