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Environmental Health

Government rules on single plastic items for food businesses are changing

What’s happening

From October 2023, the Government has announced a ban on a wide range of plastic items. These include single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks, and certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers.

From October, people won’t be able to buy these products from any business - this includes retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry.

Why are these plastic items being banned?

According to estimates England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery — most of which are plastic — and 721 million single-use plates per year.

Certain plastic items, such as straws stirrers and cotton buds, have already been banned.

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.

It is expected that banning these items will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste and littering in England. Plastic cutlery, for instance, was in the top 15 most littered items in the country by count in 2020.

This move follows an in-depth Government consultation, which saw over 95% of respondents in favour of the bans.

Where can I buy sustainable alternatives for my business?

There are several UK firms that supply a wide range of sustainable products for the food industry at competitive prices – so do your homework and shop around.

The following businesses offer takeaway trays and boxes, bowls, plates, cutlery and many other accessories:


What changes can I make, which won’t cost the earth?

  • Swap plastic for bamboo or wooden cutlery for takeaway food
  • Swap plastic plates for bamboo or palm leaf plates
  • Swap plastic for metal cutlery for inhouse guests
  • Swap sauce satchets for large self-serve reusable pots
  • Offer to refill customers’ water bottles
  • Encourage customers to bring their own clean containers for takeaway food

Become a Plastic-Free Champion

Consumers are more aware than ever of the impact that plastic has on the environment – and are actively seeking to buy from sustainable businesses.   Becoming a Plastic Free Champion is a great way to promote your business to new customers.

The Plastic Free Worcester Group gives local businesses the opportunity to become Plastic Free Champions as part of a national scheme. As you make changes to meet the conditions of the new regulations, your business will be able to claim a Bronze, Silver or Gold award for your work. Several Worcester businesses have already received an award.

To find out more contact Peter Robinson, Coordinator for Plastic Free Worcester, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Plastic Free website.  The Group are always happy to give advice.

Where can I go for more information?

Worcestershire Trading Standards

Telephone: 01905 822799

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services

Telephone:  01905 822799

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.