Scotland paved the way for the rest of the UK by introducing a ban on the manufacture and supply of some single-use plastics last year. England is now following suit with plans in place to ban the supply of some single-use plastics from October 2023. This is great for marine life as plastic pollution takes hundreds of years to break down and inflicts serious harm to our oceans. But what does this news mean for food businesses?

Single-use items such as, plastic plates, plastic trays, plastic cutlery (forks, knifes, spoons and chopsticks), plastic bowls, polystyrene food containers and cups will all be banned from manufacture and supply, meaning food vendors need to seek alternative items.

If you are a food vendor who uses single-use plastics, there are a few ways you can tackle this:

You can offer your customers an incentive to bring their own cup for takeaway drinks, by offering a small amount off the drink price. Or you could charge customers 5p for the paper cup that you use for their drink. Starbucks have been trialling this in their stores in London.

You can switch to compostable packaging, which is even more magnificent than recyclable, because compostable items break down in 12 weeks. There is a great company named Vegware who create compostable items made from plants. They make a range of things including food cartons, cold and hot takeout cups, sandwich boxes and plates.

Or you could take a leaf out of McDonald’s book, who have been trailing reusable items in France, such as fries holders and food boxes, made from rubber. The new items we’re enjoyed so much so that customers were stealing them! Businesses like pubs and bars that currently offer customers single-use glasses to take drinks outside could invest in branded reusable plastic glasses. However, the other complication after theft is cleaning and storing these extra items.

However you feel about the single-use plastic ban, it is coming and it could take a while for you to find the best solution for your business. Get researching and trying things early to avoid any potential fines. Check out the Government website for more information.

While we may not provide a solution to the single-use plastic ban, we can create an eco-friendly design for your businesses catering, so you can ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect the planet. Please get in touch if you want to discuss an eco-friendly design to match your eco-friendly efforts!