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Single-use plastic plates and cutlery, and polystyrene cups will be banned in England under government plans, as it seeks to reduce the plastic polluting the environment.

A public consultation will launch in the autumn and the ban could be in place in a couple of years. The move was welcomed by campaigners, but they said overall progress on cutting plastic waste was “snail-paced”, with the EU having banned these items and others in July.

The average person uses 18 throwaway plastic plates and 37 single-use knives, forks and spoons each year, according to ministers, while the durability of plastic litter means it kills more than a million birds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles every year around the world.

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