The UK & single use plastics bans
Confused about the single use plastics rules in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and now England? Wondering how it affects Vegware? Here’s our useful guide (which we update whenever policy news comes out)…
UK – four nations, big variations
The UK is not required to bring the EU Single Use Plastics Directive into UK law, but the UK is choosing a similar path to our European neighbours. But the four nations are taking different approaches… Here’s Vegware’s overview table, and you can scroll down for details and links.
|Ban single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws & stirrers (including CPLA cutlery & PLA straws)||Yes, from October 2023||Included in bill – in force autumn 2023||Yes, since 12 Aug 2022||Yes since 2022|
|Ban expanded polystyrene food containers & cups||Yes, and extruded polystyrene too, from October 2023||Included in bill – in force autumn 2023||Yes, since 1 June 2022||Yes since 2022|
|Ban all oxo-degradable plastics||No||Included in bill – in force autumn 2023||No||Yes since 2022|
|Turtle graphic on beverage cups containing plastic||No||No||No||Yes since 2022|
|Ban all polystyrene lids for cups or takeaway food containers||No||Included in bill – in force autumn 2023||No||No|
DISCLAIMER! This blog post is Vegware’s own understanding of the varying single use plastics rules, which we’re sharing here to help our sector navigate some confusing changes. But it’s not legal advice – do please make your own enquiries, read the original policy documents, and seek your own legal advice on important matters. Thanks!
A closer look…
ENGLAND is the last UK nation to announce its policies to limit some of the most-littered plastic items.
- New legislation (subject to completion of parliamentary processes) will ban the supply of single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks, expanded and extruded polystyrene food and drinks containers, including cups, in England from October 2023.
- Here is Defra’s press release overview, and here is the full detail from the consultation response.
- England held a consultation in early 2022 on whether to ban polystyrene cups and containers, and plastic plates (including bowls and trays), straws and stirrers.
- Read our blog explaining how English legislation has limited the use of plastic straws and stirrers since 2020.
WALES is bringing in policy in line with much of the EU Directive, likely to take effect in autumn 2023 (although one article says it may only be fully enforced in 2026).
- Following a consultation in 2020, the Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill was introduced on 20 September 2022 and passed by the Senedd on 6 December.
- Here’s a link to the bill – skip to the annex on page 11 to see the list of banned items, mostly in line with the same bans we have seen in other UK nations.
- A key difference we have noticed with Wales is that the draft bill mentions banning all polystyrene lids for cups or takeaway food containers. Most traditional plastic coffee cup lids are made from polystyrene, but Wales can choose from Vegware’s of compliant options: hot cup lids made from CPLA, paper, or moulded fibre (launching early 2023).
SCOTLAND is implementing most of the same bans as the EU Single Use Plastics Directive, from 12th Aug 2022. But read on for some important details…
- Read the Scottish guidance here.
- Polystyrene foam cups are containers are banned. Bagasse takeaway boxes and tableware are a great alternative for hot food to go, and we have a wide range of hot cups.
- No more plastic stirrers – but we have some excellent quality wooden stirrers made from sustainably-sourced birch wood.
- Instead of plastic cutlery, you can choose our wooden or our award-winning paper alternatives.
NORTHERN IRELAND must bring parts of the Directive into its own laws by 1st January 2022, as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
- Northern Ireland clients must use cups showing the new EU turtle graphic. Learn about Vegware’s EU-compliant cup ranges and custom print options at www.vegware.com/SUPD.
- A consultation was held in December 2021, requesting views of policy proposals for the reduction of the usage of Single-use Plastic beverage cups and food containers.
You can find links to UK and devolved policies in this House of Commons briefing.
Paper cutlery – an award-winning alternative
2022 saw the launch of our brand-new paper cutlery range. Before the launch in October, the range won the Packaging Award at the Free From Expo in Barcelona and was runner-up at the Sustainable Food Awards in Amsterdam!
Our cutting-edge alternative to wooden and CPLA cutlery has many benefits:
- This paper isn’t flimsy at all. Our strong, ridged design makes our knives and forks robust enough to enjoy crunchy salads
- The cutlery is ultra-light, feels great in your hand and has a silky-smooth mouthfeel for a superior eating experience
- It’s designed for commercial composting where accepted
Vegware’s EU-compliant range
The EU Single Use Plastics Directive is making big changes to Europe’s foodservice packaging habits. Its big aim is to reduce marine litter. It includes banning expanded polystyrene, oxo-degradable plastics and banning some plastic items. EU member states are taking a variety of approaches to put the Directive into their national laws.
Ignore the myth that PLA is being banned – it isn’t. Some member states won’t allow CPLA cutlery or PLA straws from July 2021 – but we have excellent paper cutlery and paper straws. The rest of our range is fully EU-compliant, ready to help you beat the bans on expanded polystyrene and oxo-degradable plastics.
Got any questions? Contact us today!