Upcoming Ban on Single-Use Plastics: What Will Change?

Wednesday 15th February 2023

The UK Government is introducing a ban in October 2023 on businesses supplying single-use plastic items.

What will the ban entail?

This ban goes further than the current ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and hot beverage stirrers which have been in force since 2020.

Single-use plastic items (those not designed or intended to be re-used) covered by the ban will include polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic plates, cups, cutlery (including chopsticks and sporks) and trays. This will lead to organisations having to sell/use wooden alternatives, or durable, multiple-use plastic items instead.

Are there any exceptions to the single-use plastics ban?

The ban won’t apply to plastic bowls or trays used as “packaging” being plastic packaging used for containing, handling, transporting, and delivering food, or as shelf-ready pre-packaged items.

Importantly, businesses can continue to purchase bowls and trays so long as they use them as packaging for food (e.g., salad bowls), it’s just that individuals won’t be able to buy these items anymore.

There are not expected to be any industry exemptions from the ban (such as hospitals or schools).

For more information on this or any other queries, please contact a member of our food & drink team.