Hospitality faces single-use plastic ban in October

16 January 2023 by
Hospitality faces single-use plastic ban in October

A ban on some single-use plastics in England will come into force in October 2023, the government has confirmed.

The ban will be further reaching than originally reported and will see hospitality businesses prevented from selling single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers.

It will be introduced in the autumn to give businesses time to prepare, the government said.

According to estimates, England uses 2.7b items of single-use cutlery and 721m single-use plates per year, but only 10% are recycled.

"Plastic is a scourge which blights our streets and beautiful countryside, and I am determined that we shift away from a single-use culture," said environment minister Rebecca Pow.

Pre-packaged salad bowls and containers filled with food at the counter of a takeaway will be excluded from the ban and included in government plans for an Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme which will incentivise producers to use packaging that can be recycled.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said this would make the scheme more practical for venues that offered both eat-in and takeaway services.

Nicholls added: "What this exemption offers is further time for alternative markets of sustainable packaging to develop, which will allow businesses to go even further in their green initiatives when viable and affordable alternatives are more readily available."

However, the British Takeaway Campaign told the BBC that businesses needed more support to implement the changes.

Andrew Crook, deputy chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, said fish and chip shops and other businesses would be forced to pass on higher costs of packaging to consumers.

"We believe in doing our bit for the environment but many small businesses are only just hanging on," Crook said.

The move follows a public consultation into the issue, which launched in 2021. A ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds has already been in place in England since October 2020.

Since last year, it has been an offence for operators in Scotland to give customers plastic cutlery, plates and stirrers.

The government is also considering extending the ban to include single-use plastic sachets, wet wipes and tobacco filters.

Image: Astock productions / Shutterstock

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