single use plastics

Here’s something you may have missed…

Since 1st October 2023, the sale and supply of single use plastics was prohibited in England, Scotland and Wales.

What’s Banned?

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has prohibited all plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery, stirrers, straws, cotton buds, and balloon sticks from being sold or supplied to members of the public, even if they are made from biodegradable, compostable and recycled plastics.

Ready-to-consume food and drink is also prohibited from being sold in polystyrene containers.

Single-use is defined as an item that ‘is meant to be used only once for its original purpose.’

The ban includes items wholly or partly made from plastic, including coatings and linings.

Businesses that will be affected by the ban are manufacturers, retailers; restaurants; takeaway venues; and the remainder of the hospitality industry.


Single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays can still be supplied if you are supplying them to another business, or if the items are packaging, such as:

  • pre-filled salad bowls or ready meals
  • a plate filled at the counter of a takeaway
  • a tray used to deliver food

You can still supply food or drink in polystyrene containers if it needs further preparation after the sale, such as:

  • adding water
  • microwaving
  • toasting

Read further here.

Further Upcoming Regulations

  • 2025: 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 2025: 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted (see producer responsibilities here)
  • 2025: Take actions to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models.

There has been increased public awareness around the detrimental issues associated with single-use plastics, and their impact on the environment – particularly marine – and the ban is hoped to encourage businesses to develop more sustainable alternatives.

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