Businesses must prepare for single-use plastics ban, councils warn

Local authorities will be required to enforce the ban locally through their trading standards teams.

Rebecca Speare-Cole
Friday 29 September 2023 00:01 BST
Disposable drinking cups in a bin (Ben Birchall/PA)
Disposable drinking cups in a bin (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)

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Businesses and individuals in England must prepare for the upcoming ban on some single-use plastic items, councils have warned.

They will no longer be able to supply products like plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene cups from Sunday October 1 under new Government restrictions.

Councils across the country will be required to enforce the ban locally through their trading standards teams.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) said local authorities are concerned that not enough businesses or individuals are aware of these changes.

This risks creating heavy costs on councils enforcing the ban at a time when trading standards teams are already facing resource and workforce pressures, it added.

Local authorities across England have been publishing reminders to businesses, like takeaways, sandwich bars, care homes and retailers on their websites, warning them that they need to source and introduce alternatives.

The LGA is also calling on the Government to go further and introduce the new extended producer responsibility to incentivise producers and companies to reduce waste and increase recyclable packaging.

Darren Rodwell, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: “Councils are sure that businesses want to comply with these new regulations and keep plastic waste to a minimum.

“However, we are concerned that some local businesses and consumers are not aware of the impending ban on these materials and would encourage everyone to take a look at the materials impacted by it.

“This is a valuable policy to reduce waste but there is still more to do.

“We are keen the Government introduces extended producer responsibility to incentivise producers to reduce waste and increase recyclable packaging, as well as enable councils to work with communities to improve recycling.”

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey announced the ban in January as part of efforts to reduce the amount of non-recyclable material ending up in bins followed by going to landfill or incineration.

The bans will apply to single-use plastic cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded and foamed extruded polystyrene cups and food containers.

There will also be restrictions for single-use plastic plates, bowls, and trays.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “This new ban is the next big step in our mission to crack down on harmful plastic waste.

“It will protect the environment and help to cut litter – stopping plastic pollution dirtying our streets and threatening our wildlife.

“This builds on world-leading bans on straws, stirrers and cotton buds, our single-use carrier bag charge and our plastic packaging tax, helping us on our journey to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.”

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