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23rd October 2023

One week to go: everything you need to know about the single-use plastic ban

There is just one week until most single-use plastic items are banned in Wales. All businesses will be required to follow the new law.

What can’t I use?

Coming into effect on 30 October, The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Act will see the following single-use items banned from distribution across the country:

  • Single-use plastic plates
  • Single-use plastic cutlery
  • Single-use plastic drinks stirrers
  • Cups made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene.
  • Takeaway food containers made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene
  • Single-use plastic balloon sticks
  • Single-use plastic-stemmed Cotton buds
  • Single-use plastic drinking straws with an exemption for those who need them to eat and drink safely and independently.

What can we expect?

The Senedd made history by becoming the first part of the UK to legislate against single-use plastics in December 2022 and approved the legislation to come into effect from autumn 2023. As of Monday, local authorities will have the power to enforce the offence of supplying or offering to supply the items. Businesses will no longer offer single-use plastics in their services and are encouraged to replace these items with reusable and sustainable materials such as wooden cutlery and paper straws.

Further research into environmentally harmful products will be continually reviewed by the Welsh government, and more items may make their way onto the bill in the future. Items likely to be included in the future are single-use carrier bags, polystyrene cup lids and products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

Why is this legislation important?

This law is part of Wales’ commitment to achieving net zero and gives businesses a leg-up in doing the same.

Net zero is a commitment to ensure a balance between greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and those removed from it. Businesses can work towards net zero by reducing the emissions that a company makes directly, the emissions it makes indirectly, and the emissions associated through its supply chain.

Currently ranked as world’s third best domestic recycler, with the Welsh Government’s Beyond Recycling circular economy strategy launched in 2021, Wales is making progress to achieve its aim of being net zero by 2050, with many large corporations setting similar targets.

What do we think?

Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid has been supporting businesses on their net zero journeys by connecting members to partners with expertise in this area and sharing their best practices through dedicated events.

Oliver Carpenter, Policy Manager at Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:

“Wales is setting the standard on how to battle modern waste. By introducing the legislation, businesses across the country can continue or start their journey contributing to the circular economy.

“Change comes from large groups playing their part, and through this legislation, Welsh businesses are taking a big step in reducing plastic waste and are the driving force for green innovation in Wales.”

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