Single-use Plastic Ban.
The Law changed on 1st October 23.

Single-use plastic plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks have been banned from sale by law and must not be provided by any business in England from 1st October 23.

Why has the law changed?

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. Following public and government consultation, the law changed on 1st October 2023 to ban the provision and sale of all single-use plastic.

Did you know? Each year in England; we dispose of and are responsible for:


pieces of single-use plastic cutlery


single-use plastic cups & containers


single-use plastic carrier bags (sold)


of global plastic marine litter

How to comply.

Ensure you your business complies with the single-use plastic ban by:

  • following the guidance outlined below
  • finding re-usable alternatives
  • using different materials

If you continue to supply banned single-use plastics after 1st October 23, you could be fined as a result.

Business Guidance.

The ban includes: online and over-the-counter sales and supply, items from new and existing stock, all types of single-use plastic, including biodegradable, compostable and recycled. Items wholly or partly made from plastic, including coating or lining. ‘Single use’ means the item is meant to be used only once for its original purpose.

Cutlery and plastic balloon sticks.

From 1st October you must not supply single-use plastic cutlery or balloon sticks.


There are no exemptions.

If you have any questions about what the new rules mean, contact:

Single-use plates, bowls and trays.

From 1st October you must not supply single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls to members of the public.


You can still supply single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays if either apply:

  • you are supplying them to another business.
  • the items are packaging (pre-filled or filled at the point of sale)

Examples of this include:

  • a pre-filled salad bowl or ready.
  • meal packaged in a tray.
  • a plate filled at the counter of a takeaway.
  • a tray used to deliver food.

Polystyrene food and drink containers.

From 1 October you must not supply ready-to-consume food and drink in polystyrene containers. This includes in polystyrene cups.

Polystyrene means expanded and extruded polystyrene.


You can still supply food or drink in polystyrene containers if it needs further preparation before it is consumed.

Further preparation could mean:

  • adding water
  • microwaving
  • toasting

If you have any questions about what the new rules mean, please email DEFRA.

Public consultation and government response: Read Here

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