Single-use plates and cutlery are to be banned in England

A Greenpeace UK representative said compared the ban to "reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap."

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 9th January 2023

Single-use plates and cutlery are to be banned in England in a bid to reduce plastic waste, it has been revealed.

The move will see an end to the use of plastic plates, bowls and trays in restaurants, cafes, and takeaways, bringing English rules in line with Scotland and Wales.

The ban will not, however, cover plastic items in supermarkets and shops and the government has said that it plans to address these by other means – although it is not currently clear what they will be.

According to Defra figures, around 1.1 billion single-use plates and over four billion pieces of plastic cutlery are used in England every year.

“A plastic fork can take 200 years to decompose, that is two centuries in landfill or polluting our oceans,” said Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey.


“I am determined to drive forward action to tackle this issue head on. We’ve already taken major steps in recent years – but we know there is more to do, and we have again listened to the public’s calls.

“This new ban will have a huge impact to stop the pollution of billions of pieces of plastic and help to protect the natural environment for future generations.”


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The decision to introduce a ban on single-use plastic follows a public consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which ran between November 2021 and February 2022.

It is hoped that by banning these commonly littered items, the amount of plastic pollution in England will be greatly reduced.


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Greenpeace UK campaigner Megan Randles said that the organisation welcomed the ban but felt further action was still needed.

She said: “We’re dealing with a plastic flood, and this is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap.”

Feature image – Raw Pixel