Businesses across Somerset are being reminded that the ban on Single-Use Plastics begins this weekend.

From 1 October, new rules come into effect which mean businesses across England will not be able to buy or sell certain single-use plastic items.

The ban, includes:

  • polystyrene cups and food containers
  • single-use plastic cutlery
  • single-use balloon sticks

It applies to online and over the counter sales and apply to all business, notably retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry.

If they have not done so already, businesses are urged to seek alternatives such as:

  • Swapping plastic for bamboo or wooden cutlery for takeaway food
  • Swapping plastic for metal cutlery for in-house guests
  • Swapping single use plastic plates or bows to re-usable alternatives that can be washed
  • Offering paper plates instead of plastic
  • Offering to refill customers’ water bottles or travel cups
  • Encouraging customers to bring their own clean containers for takeaway food

There are exemptions and this rule does not apply if these objects are used as packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items.

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

More information about the ban can be found on the Somerset Council website.

Councillor Dixie Darch, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change said:

The ban on these products is another positive step forward in raising awareness and addressing the severity of the issues that the use of single-use plastic has on our environment.

Plastic can take up to 1,000 years to break down. The longevity of this material therefore has a harmful impact through disrupting our ecosystems, polluting our soil and groundwater, which ultimately will affect the health and well-being of our communities.

At Somerset Council we will support businesses across the county to prepare and implement the banning of these items to ensure a greener and more sustainable Somerset.

The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs has issued guidance for businesses on these regulations which can be accessed at

England uses around 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery, and 721 million single-use plates per year. Only 10% are recycled.

Banning these items will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste and littering in England. Plastic cutlery, for instance, was in the top 15 most littered items in the country by count in 2020.

The ban will be enforced by Trading Standards.

Photo of single-use plastics

About this article

September 28, 2023

Isabella Cole

Climate Emergency

Press Release