In January the UK government announced the introduction of a ban on the supply or sale of certain single-use plastic items from businesses, including food vendors, retailers, takeaways and the hospitality industry. ‘Single-use’ means the item is intended to be used only once for its original purpose. This ban is already in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland and will come into effect in England from 1st October 2023 and Wales from autumn 2023.
While the UK has already taken action to tackle plastic waste it is deemed that existing policies do not sufficiently address the challenge. The case for reducing select single-use plastic items remains, particularly as such items are often found littered. In addition, there are certain plastic items that cannot be recycled at scale and if not disposed of correctly, could end up in our land or marine environment.
Which items are banned?
All plastic disposable cutlery, all EPS food containers, plates and cups, and select plastic plates, bowls and trays are banned. Banned items relate to those sold to consumers, for example selling packs of plastic plates and plastic cutlery for a party at home. The ban also includes biodegradable, compostable and recycled single-use plastic. From 2024, Wales will introduce a ban on all PS lids for cups and food containers.
Which items are NOT affected by the ban?
Plastic plates, bowls and trays are NOT subject to the ban if you are supplying them to another business or the items are packaging (pre-filled or filled at the point of sale). For example, a pre-filled salad bowl or ready meal packaged in a tray; a plate filled at the counter of a takeaway; a tray used to deliver food. You can still supply food or drink in polystyrene containers if it needs further preparation before it is consumed, for example adding water; microwaving; toasting.
How can you prepare?
Go-Pak already offers alternatives, so the transition is not extensive. We have developed a short single-use plastics guide to help you make the switch as easily as possible. This guide provides an overview of what is banned, and the fully functional alternatives to help you make informed choices.
UK Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic
The single-use plastic ban covers all plastic disposable cutlery, EPS food containers, plates and cups, and select plastic plates, bowls and trays* This ban will be introduced from 1st October 2023
*PS food containers will be banned in Wales from 2024