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plastic plate and cutlery

Ban on single use plastics

by Cathy Sheel

A ban on businesses supplying single use plastic items comes into force on 1 October.

From that date businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer single-use plastic items including:

  • plastic plates, bowls, trays
  • plastic cutlery
  • plastic balloon sticks
  • polystyrene food and drinks containers
  • polystyrene cups

The following are also subject to existing restrictions:

  • plastic straws
  • plastic drink stirrers
  • plastic stemmed cotton buds
  • microbeads in rinse-off personal care products

Biodegradable and compostable plastics are also subject to the restrictions.

Are there any exceptions?

Businesses can still supply single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays if the items are packaging and pre-filled or filled at the point of sale. For example, a takeaway restaurant can still fill a single use plastic bowl with food.

Eat-in and takeaway settings can use plastic plates, bowls, and trays as packaging. However, businesses are encouraged to reduce their use of these single-use items and move to reusable alternatives instead.

Businesses which supply products for other businesses can still supply single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays (even if they are not filled at the point of sale). For example, a distribution company or supplier of single use plastic products selling single use plastic plates, bowls or trays to another business. It is the responsibility of the other business to ensure these are then filled at the point of sale to the end user.

Polystyrene boxes used to transport unprocessed or unprepared food through the supply chain can still be used. For example, polystyrene boxes used to transport frozen fish. However businesses must not supply ready-to-consume food and drink in polystyrene containers or cups.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the legislation may result in a fixed penalty of £200.

There’s more information here. If you have any questions, or require any further information, please contact Trading Standards at  tradingstandardsteam@knowsley.gov.uk