Single-use plastics ban – in force

October 2, 2023

From 1 October 2023, businesses in England must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England.

The single-use plastic ban follows on from the existing plastic ban on microbeads in 2018 and single use plastic straws in 2020. In Scotland, there is already a single use plastic ban that came into force in June 2022.

From 1 October, any business in England that relies on single use plastic products in any form must comply with the ban. The ban includes:

  • Online and over-the-counter sales and supply.
  • Items from new and existing stock.
  • All types of single-use plastic, including biodegradable, compostable and recycled.
  • Items wholly or partly made from plastic, including coating or lining.

“Single use” means the item is meant to be used only once for its original purpose.

If a business continues to supply banned single-use plastics after 1 October, it could be fined. Local authorities will carry out inspections to ensure the rules are being followed.

There are some exemptions to the ban, depending on the item.

Businesses can still supply single-use plastic plates, bowls, and trays if either of the following apply:

  • It is supplying them to another business.
  • The items are packaging (pre-filled or filled at the point of sale).

A business must not supply ready-to-consume food and drink in polystyrene containers. This includes in polystyrene cups. Polystyrene means expanded and extruded polystyrene. However, a business may still supply food or drink in polystyrene containers if it needs further preparation before it is consumed. For example, further preparation could mean:

  • adding water
  • microwaving
  • toasting.

There are no exemptions to the ban on cutlery and balloon sticks.

This is valid as of 2nd October 2023.

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