October start set for ban in England of single-use plastic tableware

Sale by retailers and food outlets in England of single-use plastic tableware to be banned but not ‘shelf-ready pre-packaged food’ containers

Single-use plastic plates, cutlery and a range of other items will be banned in England from October, to curb their “devastating” impact on the environment, the government has confirmed.

The Department for the Environment said the ban will also cover single-use plastic bowls, trays and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers.

However, the move will not apply to plates, trays and bowls used as packaging in what the Department called “shelf-ready pre-packaged food items”.

From October this year, the public will not be able to buy the banned items from retailers, takeaways or food vendors.

Under new legislation, it is expected the ban will be enforced through civil sanctions – but with the possibility of repeated breaches ending up in a criminal offence.

The ban follows a consultation on the issue by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that ran from November 2021 to February 2022.

Figures suggest that every year England uses about 1.1bn single-use plates and 4.25bn pieces of such cutlery, only 10% of which are recycled after being used.

According to research, plastic items relating to takeaway food and drink, including food containers and cutlery, make up the largest share of litter in the world’s oceans.

The environment, secretary Thérèse Coffey, said: “We all know the absolutely devastating impacts that plastic can have on our environment and wildlife.

“We have listened to the public and these new single-use plastics bans will continue our vital work to protect the environment for future generations.

“I am proud of our efforts in this area: we have banned microbeads, restricted the use of straws, stirrers and cotton buds and our carrier bag charge has successfully cut sales by over 97% in the main supermarkets.”

Similar bans have already been made in Scotland and Wales.

The environment minister, Rebecca Pow, said that the government would also be “pressing ahead” with “plans for a deposit-return scheme for drinks containers and consistent recycling collections in England”.

In addition to this, the government is considering whether other measures are needed to target other items that are regularly thrown away as litter, such as wet wipes, tobacco filters and sachets.


Jane Clinton

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Plastic bottle deposit return scheme finally looks set to start in England
Campaigners say long delay is adding to pollution and not including glass will break manifesto pledge

Sandra Laville Environment correspondent

19, Jan, 2023 @3:25 PM

Article image
Single-use plastic cutlery and plates to be banned in England
‘A plastic fork can take 200 years to decompose’, said environment secretary Thérèse Coffey

Nicola Davis Science correspondent

08, Jan, 2023 @4:12 PM

Article image
Include biodegradable plastic in English single-use cutlery ban, say campaigners
Campaign group says many bioplastics are damaging and they should not be excluded from any ban

Sandra Laville

14, Dec, 2022 @11:00 AM

Article image
Single-use plastic plates and cutlery to be banned in England
Polystyrene cups will also be banned but campaigners say action to cut plastic waste is ‘snail-paced’

Damian Carrington Environment editor

27, Aug, 2021 @9:30 PM

Article image
Water company fines in England to be used for environmental improvements
Minister confirms pollution penalties will be ringfenced for environment rather than going to Treasury

Sandra Laville

30, Nov, 2022 @10:19 AM

Article image
Councils in England say they lack funds to bring in clean air strategy
Plans put onus on local authorities to stop air pollution but offer no new funds or powers for traffic calming and other measures

Fiona Harvey Environment editor

04, May, 2023 @10:33 AM

Article image
Plastic ‘nurdles’ stop sea urchins developing properly, study finds
Chemicals that leach out of plastic shown to cause fatal abnormalities, including gut developing outside body

Karen McVeigh

15, Dec, 2022 @3:34 PM

Article image
More than 170tn plastic particles afloat in oceans, say scientists
‘Cleanup is futile’ if production continues at current rate, amid rapid rise in marine pollution

Helena Horton and Damian Carrington

08, Mar, 2023 @7:00 PM

Article image
Plastic pollution could be slashed by 80% by 2040, UN says
Changes needed are major but also practical and affordable, report says, and would bring trillions of dollars in benefits

Damian Carrington Environment editor

16, May, 2023 @10:00 AM

Article image
Recycled plastic can be more toxic and is no fix for pollution, Greenpeace warns
Campaign group says plastics are incompatible with circular economy as countries prepare for treaty talks

Damien Gayle

24, May, 2023 @4:01 AM