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29th Sep 2023

Takeaway lovers face chaos over new rules coming in on Sunday

Charlie Herbert

takeaway plastic rules

There are concerns over the amount of businesses and takeaways that know about the rules

Takeaway places and customers face a weekend of chaos and disruption ahead of a new ban on single-use plastic.

From Sunday, takeaways, restaurants and other hospitality outlets in England will not be allowed to use single-use plastic cutlery, polystyrene cups and polystyrene containers.

Any establishment found to be using single-use plastic like this could face a fine of £200.

But there are concerns over how much businesses and customers know about the new rules, with a number of firms saying they were not aware of the upcoming ban.

The new rules are part of the government’s plan to “eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042,” and follows the ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds introduced in 2020.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that not enough businesses and individuals know about the rules, and that it will be too expensive for some places to enforce.

“Councils are sure that businesses want to comply with these new regulations and keep plastic waste to a minimum,” Councillor Darren Rodwell, environment spokesman for the LGA, said.

“However, we are concerned that some local businesses and consumers are not aware of the impending ban on these materials and would encourage everyone to take a look at the materials impacted by it.”

One takeaway owner in leeds told the BBC that he had not heard about the upcoming changes.

Meanwhile the owner of another takeaway said he had just bought two weeks’ supply of polystyrene boxes. He warned that wholesalers are “still full” of packaging that will not be allowed by the end of the weekend.

A government spokesperson said councils would receive funding to help enforce the ban.

There are some exemptions to the rules as well. Confusingly, takeaways will still able to use plastic containers, trays and wrap, whilst retailers can also continue using plastic plates, bowls and trays for pre-packaged food such as pre-filled salad bowls and ready meals.

This is because these items are classed as “packaging” and will be dealt with under separate rules designed to shift the cost onto packaging producers instead of local authorities.

Roughly 1.1billion single-use plates and more than four billion pieces of plastic cutlery are used in England every year, but only 10 per cent are recycled, according to government figures.

Along with concerns about how the rules will be implemented, the scheme has been criticised by environmental campaigners for not going far enough.

Anna Diski, plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Legislating token bans on a few single-use plastic items every few years… [is] completely inadequate to the scale of the problem.

“Instead of this piecemeal approach, the Government needs to address the problem at source and roll out a serious strategy to cut how much plastic is being produced.”

Speaking after the ban was announced in January by the government, environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “This new ban is the next big step in our mission to crack down on harmful plastic waste.

“It will protect the environment and help to cut litter – stopping plastic pollution dirtying our streets and threatening our wildlife.

“This builds on world-leading bans on straws, stirrers and cotton buds, our single-use carrier bag charge and our plastic packaging tax, helping us on our journey to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.”

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