Some items commonly bought from takeaways will be banned across the UK from October 1. Local authorities will carry out checks to ensure fast food restaurants and takeaways comply with the new law.
Trading standards departments will have the power to fine and prosecute violators of the new rules, The Mirror reported. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Thérèse Coffey said: “I am determined to drive forward action to tackle this issue head-on.
“We’ve already taken major steps in recent years – but we know there is more to do, and we have again listened to the public’s calls.”
The ban includes single-use plastic cutlery, polystyrene containers and cups, and single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls as well as plastic balloon sticks. There are exemptions to the ban.
The Government website states the only reason businesses can use and supply single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays is if they are being “supplied to another business, or the items are packaging (pre-filled or filled at the point of sale)” and detailing that examples of these are “pre-filled salad bows or ready meals packaged in a tray, a plate filled at the counter of a takeaway or a tray used to deliver food.”
The exemptions for the use of food or drink in polystyrene containers and cups are “if it needs further preparation before it is consumed” meaning that if the food or drink needs water added, or needs to be microwaved or toasted. There are however no exemptions for single-use plastic cutlery and balloon sticks and will be banned altogether from October 1.
Advice on the Government website warns fines will be issued if businesses are found to supply the single-use plastics after October 1 and suggests businesses should “use up existing stock before October 1, find reusable alternatives to single-use items and use different materials for single-use items.” Fines can be appealed if the business believes they haven’t broken the law. Polystyrene can take hundreds of years to decompose and it is estimated that the UK alone uses 2.7 billion disposable cutlery each year, as well as 721 million disposable plates, but only 10% is recycled. This follows the ban on plastic straws on October 1, 2020.