Hospitality businesses have been urged to prepare for a ban on some single-use plastic items which will come into force in England on 1 October.
Trading Standards officers will visit restaurants and takeaways to enforce the ban and operators could face fines if they are found to be breaking the law.
As part of a government bid to reduce waste, providing single-use plastic cutlery, plastic balloon sticks and polystyrene food and drinks containers to customers will be banned from next month.
Single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays will be exempt from the ban if they are filled at the point of sale or are supplied to another business.
This will mean restaurants can still sell items such as pre-packaged salad bowls or plates of food filled at the counter of a takeaway.
The government said there were exemptions for some items as these would fall under the upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility scheme, which will apply to organisations that import or supply packaging.
There will be no grace period for businesses to use up their existing stock of banned items and operators must use substitutions from 1 October.
Local authorities will enforce the ban and government guidance said "a range of enforcement options" would be applied, including both civil and criminal sanctions.
"These options include a compliance notice, non-compliance penalty, stop notice, and fixed monetary penalty," the guidance states.
While plastic plates, bowls and trays used as packaging will still be allowed in eat-in and takeaway settings, the government said it would "strongly encourage" businesses to reduce their usage.
The ban was announced in January following 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 first phase of a similar wide-ranging ban will come into force in Wales on 30 October and prevent businesses from selling or providing customers with single-use plastic plates, cutlery, drinks stirrers, balloon sticks and drinking straws.
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