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Eco friendly fast food and drink

From 1 October 2023, businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer select single-use plastic items in England. If you continue to supply banned single-use plastics after 1 October, you could be fined – so make sure to prepare in advance for the upcoming changes.

In this article, we highlight the key changes coming, along with further details on exempt items and how we can help you prepare for the ban.

What single-use plastic items are banned

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Trays
  • Containers
  • Cutlery
  • Balloon sticks

The ban on these single-use items will include:

  • Online and over-the-counter sales and supply
  • Items from new and existing stock
  • All types of single-use plastic, including biodegradable, compostable and recycled
  • Items wholly or partly made from plastic, including coating or lining

There are some exemptions that have been outlined, depending on the item.

Exemptions: Plates, bowls and trays

You can still supply single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays if any 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

Exemptions: Polystyrene food and drink containers

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


Local authorities will carry out inspections to make sure the rules are being followed. Inspectors can:

  • Visit a shop or store
  • Make test purchases
  • Speak to staff
  • Ask to see records

If you break the law, inspectors can order your business to cover the cost of the investigation.

Complaints about a business breaking the law can be made to Trading Standards.

Appealing a fine

You can appeal within 28 days of getting a fine if you think something is wrong. A letter with the fine will tell you what to do. If you can show that you did everything you reasonably could to avoid breaking any rules, this would be an acceptable defence.

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

How we can help

The Pelican team is here to help you source alternative products that comply with the new regulations. We work closely with global and national manufacturers and suppliers who provide solutions for all sectors.

Once we fully understand your requirements, we can arrange product sampling, testing, price negotiations, and benchmarking to ensure you get the products that best meet your needs and budget.

Simply contact our procurement experts at – who are ready to help you comply.

You can read the full government guidance on the Government website.

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