WHERE Aberporth led the way, Welsh Government is now following after it launched a consultation on proposals to ban a range of single-use plastics.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said she wants to hear from the people of Wales on how the country can be at the forefront of the global drive to tackle the plastic waste problem.

If the proposals are implemented, a range of single use, hard to recycle and commonly littered plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds, polystyrene food and drinks containers would be banned.

At the start of 2018, Aberporth earned the accolade of the first plastic-free community in Wales from Surfers Against Sewage, attracting worldwide media interest as locals vowed to reduce their single-use plastic.

Aberporth achieved the award by getting local businesses to give up three single-use plastic items plus get the backing of the local council.

The campaign was wholeheartedly embraced by the community with activities ranging from locals carrying out litter picks to the village shop stocking milk in glass bottles and bamboo toothbrushes, plus the local pub ditching plastic condiment sachets and straws.

Other plastic-free groups were also set up in towns and villages along the Teifi Valley.

Plastic pollution and litter affects every environment in Wales, with single use plastics making up a significant proportion of the litter found in Welsh streets, parks and beaches.

During the Covid-19 lock-down, many people across Wales had a rare opportunity to rediscover and gain a greater appreciation of their local areas. However, with restrictions easing, littering has become more prominent.

The proposals set out in the consultation will build on the efforts of communities across Wales to go plastic free by removing highly littered plastics from the supply chain and, therefore, the environment.

Many businesses are already responding to the consumer demand for more sustainable products and our proposals seek to accelerate this shift.

Launching the consultation, Ms Blythyn said: “Plastic pollution and the impact it has on our environment is regularly highlighted in the media, online and in conversations I have every day with people across Wales. It blights our communities and has a devastating impact on our wildlife.

“I want to hear from communities all over Wales on how we can work together to tackle litter and reduce our reliance on single plastics.

“Communities have led the way when it comes to reducing plastic waste. I hope the people of Wales will now take the opportunity to respond to this consultation and help us move forward on our journey towards a litter free Wales.”

Lesley Jones, CEO Keep Wales Tidy said: “We welcome the launch of this important Welsh Government consultation. The damage caused by plastics is far reaching and we are eager to see a drive towards reusable alternatives across society.

We have seen some big changes in plastic consumption and recognise the work being done by a number of major Welsh businesses and organisations to reduce the plastic that they use and include in their products, but there is still a long way to go.”

Visit https://gov.wales/consultations to have your say.