Gov urged to help firms move from single-use plastics

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Plastic ban: UKH asks Government to support hospitality in using alternative materials (Getty/ tolgart)
Plastic ban: UKH asks Government to support hospitality in using alternative materials (Getty/ tolgart)

Related tags ukhospitality Plastic Environment

UKHospitality (UKH) has urged the Government to support hospitality businesses as they move away from single-use plastics, ahead of a proposed ban next year.

The trade body is backing a planned April 2023 ban on single-use plastics, but wants to see Government support the sector as it moves to alternative materials for items such as bowls, plates and forks. 

The trade body’s call came as it responded to a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation document on proposals to ban “some commonly littered single-use plastic items”. 

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re keen to take a strong stance in supporting any plan to reduce plastic. Indeed, many hospitality sector businesses have already moved away from single-use plastics or are putting in place plans to do so.” 

Leading the way

According to Nicholls, the hospitality industry was leading the way on this important issue, which remains committed in continuing to prioritise sustainable practices. 

But, all hospitality businesses will need Government support if they were to make the transition to non-plastic items successfully and time for 2023, she added.   

According to UKH, the Government should be prepared, where necessary, to provide financial support to businesses sourcing and buying alternatives plastic to avoid them suffering “unintended consequences”. 

The trade body has suggested, to avoid confusion among customers, operational problems and added costs, there should be exemptions for all plastic bowls, plates and trays used as ‘eat in’ and ‘take out’ packaging.  

Snail-paced progress

Without these exemptions, UKH said businesses offering both ‘eat in’ and ‘take out’ services would be unfairly affected, as it would be “incredibly difficult for [them] to offer every item on the menu as ‘take out’, with the plastic packaging available; but also ‘eat in’, on a reusable plate”. 

In August 2021, Greenpeace UK head of oceans Will McCallum told The Guardian​ that progress on cutting plastic waste was “snail-paced”, with the EU having banned single-used plastic plates and cutlery last July. 

He said ministers should bring in legally binding targets to halve single-use plastic by 2025 and ban exports of scrap plastic. “The UK public has long been willing and ready to move on from polluting throwaway plastic,” he said. “Is the Government listening?” 

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