You might have noticed many businesses cutting back on single-use plastic items over the last few years, but this has now been rolled out as law across food outlets. Items including single-use plastic plates, trays and cutlery will no longer be permitted for use across England as a ban has now come into place.
Following similar policies set out in Scotland and Wales, the legislation came into effect from October 1 in a bid to reduce plastic pollution. The single-use plastic ban hopes to quell the estimated 1.1 billion plastic plates and 4.25 billion pieces of cutlery, only 10% of which are thought to be recycled, that go to waste each year. Plastic waste that cannot be recycled often doesn’t decompose and simply lies in landfill for years.
From October 1, no business – whether retailer, takeaway, food vendor or part of the hospitality industry – will now be able to sell single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks nor polystyrene cups and food containers in England. The supply of single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls has also been restricted.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “This new ban is the next big step in our mission to crack down on harmful plastic waste. It will protect the environment and help to cut litter – stopping plastic pollution dirtying our streets and threatening our wildlife.
“This builds on world-leading bans on straws, stirrers and cotton buds, our single-use carrier bag charge and our plastic packaging tax, helping us on our journey to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.”
However, the ban will not apply to single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls used as packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items.
The single-use plastics ban is part of the Government’s wider action to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution and eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. The Government has already banned microbeads in rinse-off personal care products in 2018 and restricted the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in 2020.