The government will launch a public consultation which could result in single-use plastics such as plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups being banned in England. Ministers are also set to investigate limiting wet wipes, tobacco filters and sachets.
Under the proposals, businesses and consumers will need to move towards more sustainable alternatives.
Environment secretary George Eustice said it was “time we left our throwaway culture behind once and for all”.
About 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of cutlery – mostly plastic – are used annually, but just 10% are recycled upon disposal.
Scotland has already announced a ban from June 2022 on the use of plastic cutlery, drink stirrers and food containers made from expanded polystyrene.
Eustice said: “There is growing recognition of the damage that plastics cause to our environment, and marine life in particular. We want to reduce the use of plastics in packaging and ban its use in items linked to littering. We have already banned plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and now plan to extend the ban to cutlery and balloon sticks where alternative materials like wood can be used.”