DEFRA single-use plastics ban

DEFRA: Are you ready for the single-use plastics ban?

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is reminding businesses that as of October 1, there will be additional bans and restrictions on single-use plastic items in England. Further guidance for businesses on the new regulations can be found on GOV.UK.

DEFRA wishes to ensure that industry stakeholders – retailers, suppliers and manufacturers – are aware of the changes coming into effect, when they will be required to make changes and why the ban is coming into force.

The upcoming ban includes polystyrene cups and food containers, single use plastic cutlery and single use balloon sticks. There will also be a restriction to the supply of single-use plastic trays and bowls to members of the public, although businesses can continue to supply these items if they are used as packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items.

How to prepare for the single use plastics ban:

The Government response to the consultation on these bans, published in January, set out that these restrictions would be introduced from October 2023 instead of April 2023, giving businesses more time to prepare.

Businesses will need to use up existing stock and find alternative substitutes or reuse solutions by October 1, 2023.

This ban compliments the existing restrictions on other single-use plastic items including plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers and our carrier bag charge.

Why ban single use plastics

The Government is committed to tackling plastic pollution and littering and to reduce avoidable waste. Single-use plastics have damaging environmental impacts as they are commonly littered and are difficult to recycle. These impacts need to be managed so that we can protect our environment.

Damaging environmental impacts: Plastic pollution takes hundreds of years to break down and inflicts serious damage to the environment. It is also a source of greenhouse gas emissions, from the production and manufacture of the plastic itself to the way it is disposed of.

Unnecessary littering: England uses around 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery — most of which are plastic — and 721 million single-use plates per year, but only 10% are recycled.


DEFRA knows that people and businesses want to do the right thing for the environment and support its ban on single use plastics. However, if the rules are not complied with, a range of enforcement options have been provided, including both civil and criminal sanctions. The bans will be enforced by Trading Standards.

Further information

If you have any questions about what the new rules mean for your business, please contact

Image: Volodymyr Hryshchenko