Defra publish single use plastic guidance

The Department for environment, farming and rural affairs have published guidance on single use plastic ban
Defra publish single use plastic guidance

New guidance follows the announcement earlier this year which stated that from 1 October 2023 businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England. 

This will ban businesses from selling either online or over the counter, single-use plastic plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks.

How to prepare for the ban

You can prepare your business for the new rules by:

  • using up existing stock before 1 October
  • finding re-usable alternatives to single-use items
  • using different materials for single-use items

If you continue to supply banned single-use plastics after 1 October, you could be fined.

There are some exemptions to the ban, depending on the item.

Plates, bowls and trays

From 1 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 of the following apply:

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

Examples of this type of packaging 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

Cutlery and balloon sticks

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

There are no exemptions to this ban.

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. For example, further preparation could mean:

  • adding water
  • microwaving
  • toasting

For more information, click here

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