Ban on single use plastic

From 1 October, 2023 businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England. The emphasis for this new national ban is on takeaways, sandwich bars, care homes and retailers who supply certain single use plastic items, and covers single use plastics, also known as disposable plastics.

It is estimated that 2.7 billion single use cutlery items and 721 million single use plates are thrown away every year in England. This waste is not biodegradable and will end up in landfill, so the ban has been introduced as a measure to reduce the release of associated toxins in the ground, water and air, protecting our health, the environment and wildlife.

The ban announced by the Government in January this year is on a wide range of plastic items as outlined in the Environmental Protection Regulations 2023. More details in relation to the ban, and exemptions,can be found by visiting the website.

The ban includes all single use plastic cutlery, trays, plates, bowls, and balloon sticks, as well as banning the use of certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers used to supply food which is ready to consume. Businesses should consider:

  • Offering paper plates instead of plastic
  • Swapping plastic for bamboo or wooden cutlery for takeaway food
  • Swapping plastic for metal cutlery for inhouse guests
  • Swapping single use plastic plates or bows to re-usable alternatives that can be washed
  • Offering to refill customers’ water bottles or travel cups
  • Encouraging customers to bring their own clean containers for takeaway food

After the 30 September, 2023 business found to be breaching the regulation could be subject to the issuance of a notice and fine.