Single-use plastic ban to come into force from October
A far-reaching ban on the use of single-use plastic tableware will be introduced in October but doesn't extend as far as banning disposable packaging for pre-packaged food items already on store shelves.
Single-use plastic is a growing global issue, with estimates suggesting that England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery and 721 million plates per annum - adding up to an average of 18 plates and 37 items of cutlery per person. However, whilst plastic tableware is often considered convenient, it has devastating impacts on the environment. Its production creates vast amounts of carbon emissions, and its slow breakdown rate causes considerable pollution to our ecosystems.
As of October 2023, the UK government will introduce a ban on many single-use plastic items to reduce plastic pollution. This ban will prohibit items such as disposable cutlery, plates, bowls and some polystyrene cups. The hope is that it will encourage businesses to seek sustainable alternatives before enforcing the legislation.
However, the ban doesn't cover single-use plastics used for what The Department for the Environment called "shelf-ready pre-packaged food items", as they will be included in plans to extend the Producer Responsibility Scheme under the Environment Bill. This approach will incentivise packaging that can be recycled and is amongst other initiatives as part of the Bill, along with a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles.
Under the new legislation, businesses that ignore the ban will face civil sanctions. However, repeated breaches could become 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.
At Beacon, we recognise the devastating impacts that plastic can have on our environment and wildlife. As such, we have been working diligently with our partners to ensure that sustainable alternatives are readily available for all our customers, whatever their needs. In addition, we have worked hard to negotiate pricing agreements with our partners to mitigate any cost difference from switching to sustainable options.
Victoria Halliwell, Beacon Procurement Manager, said, 'we understand the importance of sustainability, both environmentally and economically - which is why we have continually provided our customers with sustainable alternatives. Over the years, our success rate in helping customers transition has been incredibly high. We are proud to have spearheaded such valuable transformations and remain committed to finding ways to help our clients meet their sustainability goals, whilst also being mindful of the challenging trading environment that our customers are operating in.'
Drop us a line via Live Chat today for more information on how Beacon can support you in preparing for the forthcoming ban. Together, we can work towards a more circular economy.