Operators welcome plastic ban but need more support from local authorities

24 January 2023 by
Operators welcome plastic ban but need more support from local authorities

Hospitality operators have shown support for a ban on single-use plastics, but say there needs to be "better communication" and legislative backing from local councils.

Earlier this month, the government announced that hospitality businesses will be prevented from selling single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and certain types of polystyrene cups from October.

It comes after estimates predicted that England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery and 721 million single-use plates per year, with only 10% recycled.

A ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds has been in place in England since October 2020.

Sammie Ellard-King, marketing director of Amazing Grace, a live music bar and restaurant in London Bridge, has introduced eco-pint glasses and is looking at spirit providers that can provide refills so that the business can be as "close to carbon neutral as possible".

She added: "Single-use plastics and how we as hospitality venues find alternate, more environmental solutions should be high on the agenda of any business this year, regardless of the new government ban."

Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF), told The Caterer: "The takeaway sector has been expecting this legislation and we support anything that will minimise our impact on the environment." However, he raised concerns that "demand could outstrip supply" if there are not enough alternatives in stock.

He added: "We do feel this legislation needs to be underpinned by some better communication to consumers and businesses on how to correctly dispose of food packaging. The way waste is treated very much depends on geographic location and this surely should be determined by the best way of handling the waste rather than what facilities are nearby."

Kie Humphreys, owner of the Coffee Cat café in Ipswich, expressed his frustration about the lack of recycling options in his local area.

He has been trying to switch to biodegradable products – which come with a "100% increase" in pricing for some – but feels his actions are limited by the council's system of waste management.

Humphreys said: "We looked at bio-cups [but] in this county our waste is all burnt anyway, so it's kind of ridiculous. It's kind of a political statement with the bio-cups and the wooden cutlery, because it's treated no differently, certainly in this county."

Photo: ako photography/Shutterstock

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