79% support UK ban on sample sachets to reduce plastic waste

Almost eight-in-ten Britons say plastic sample sachets should be banned in the UK, and more than four-in-five say the Government should not ignore their impact on plastic pollution.  

These figures come from a poll of 2,000 over-18s in the UK, conducted by One Poll and commissioned by campaign group A Plastic Planet as part of its Sack the Sachet campaign. 

Currently, there is no legislation in place in the UK or EU to tackle the environmental impact of plastic sachets, with the single-use plastics ban only covering plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. Separately, a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetic products came into force in 2018.

According to A Plastic Planet, the personal care industry alone produces 122 billion plastic sachets each year, and is expected to be the most lucrative end-use market for sachet packaging. 

As well as the sachets used in some salons, this includes sachets are used to package single doses of perfume, shampoo and shower gel, usually used to encourage sales of full-size products.  

Many sachets are made from a laminated film comprised of plastic and aluminium, meaning they are almost impossible to recycle. Their small size means they are one of the most prevalent polluting plastics in the environment.  

The new poll follows growing political support for a ban, with 26 cross-party politicians urging the Government to ban non-food sachets in an Early Day Motion tabled in September last year. 

In November, 40 politicians, business leaders, and campaigners, signed an open letter urging the UK and EU to include sample sachets in their single-use plastic bans.

Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said: “There is clear public consensus that pumping out billions of single-use sachets, useful for moments, polluting for centuries is now unacceptable. 

“They’re not going to be recycled, they’re entirely valueless and they’re contaminating our environment from the depths of the ocean to the soil we grow our food in. With growing cross-party political and public support, campaigners have been calling for action for years. What more does the Government need to show it must act now and sack the sachet for good?”   

Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central and former Secretary of State for the Environment, said: “We have bans in place curbing the use of plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers, but this barely scratches the surface of the plastics crisis. It’s really important that the Government’s action doesn’t end here, and I hope that plastic sample sachets will be included in the ban.” 

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