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Businesses are urged to prepare for this October’s ban on some single-use plastics

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Our Trading Standards service is reminding businesses, such as takeaways, sandwich bars, care homes and retailers who supply certain single-use plastic items, that a ban comes into force this October, and that they should start thinking now about alternatives and where to source them from.

The Government announced a widening ban on more single use plastic items that is expected to come into effect on Sunday 1 October 2023.

It means that from October, businesses across England will not be able to supply certain single-use plastic items to members of the public.

The ban includes all single-use plastic cutlery, trays, plates, bowls, and balloon sticks, as well as banning the use of certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers used to supply food that is ready to consume.

There are exemptions to the ban. You can read more about the change and the exemptions to it in guidance published by The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). If you have any questions about what the new rules mean for your business, contact

From October, subject to the exemptions, members of the public won’t be supplied these products from any business – this includes retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry and the ban will apply to online and over-the-counter sales.

The ban includes the supply of items by businesses from new and existing stock and includes single-use plastic that is biodegradable, compostable, recycled and items wholly or partly made from plastic, including the coating or lining.

Businesses who continue to supply banned single-use plastic items after the legislation comes into effect could be given a fine.

It is estimated that England uses 2.7 billion items of single use cutlery each year, and 721 million single-use plates. Only 10% of these items are recycled.

Certain plastic items, such as straws, stirrers and cotton buds, have already been banned.

Plastic pollution takes hundreds of years to break down and inflicts serious damage to our oceans, rivers, and land. It is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, from the production and manufacture of the plastic itself to the way it is disposed.

It is expected that banning these items will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste and littering in England. Plastic cutlery, for instance, was in the top 15 most littered items in the country by count in 2020.

Businesses could:

  • Swap plastic for bamboo or wooden cutlery for takeaway food
  • Swap plastic for metal cutlery for inhouse guests
  • Swap single use plastic plates or bowls to re-usable alternatives that can be washed
  • Offer paper plates instead of plastic
  • Offer to refill customers’ water bottles or travel cups
  • Encourage customers to bring their own clean containers for takeaway food

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:

“I urge businesses, care homes and retailers across the region to start thinking now about what changes they have to make.

“Banning these items will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste and littering but if businesses dont have a plan in place it could damage their business.”

Rachael Holden, Group Manager Business Support and Innovation for Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service said:

“Businesses should use up existing stock and find alternatives to single-use items. For instance, reusing plates, bowls and cutlery, or sourcing alternative single use items such as wood-based cutlery and paper-based plates.

“It may be that you need to look for alternative suppliers and we advise that you start looking now if you haven’t already done so to ensure that your business is prepared when the new rules come into effect.”