Plastic ban to pack ‘financial pressure’ on sector

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Sustainable sector: Trade bodies have mixed response to ban (Getty/ Ales-A)
Sustainable sector: Trade bodies have mixed response to ban (Getty/ Ales-A)

Related tags Legislation Social responsibility Finance ukhospitality British institute of innkeeping

Trade bodies have supported the Government’s decision to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery and trays but have called for further help for businesses.

 The move, announced on 8 January,​ will help protect the natural environment for future generations, according to environment secretary Thérèse Coffey. 

A spokesperson for the British Institute of Innkeeping said its members and the wider sector had made many sustainable changes to their businesses in recent years.

Many had already moved from using single use plastics as part of their overall commitment to protecting the environment, helped by the wider availability of sustainable containers and packaging.

“However,” the spokesperson added, “there may be an increased cost associated with this ban, which comes at a time where our nations’ pubs are under a huge amount of financial pressure.

“Any support the Government could offer, particularly for smaller businesses, would be welcome."

Proposed expansion

UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls said sustainability was a real priority for the hospitality sector, with UKH committed​ to the industry-wide goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

She continued: “Given the substantial costs facing businesses, it’s important that alternative markets for sustainable packaging are given time to develop for venues to be supported as they transition to these greener alternatives.

“This need for time is why we support the Government’s proposal for some items to be exempt as part of takeaways. However, we feel the proposed exemptions should be expanded to include eat-in settings, to prevent significant operational difficulty for venues that offer eat-in and takeaway.”

Commercial director of off-trade brewery Pinter Cecelia Goodall said the ban of single-use cutlery, plates and trays was a promising step in the right direction.

Sustainable changes

A reported 1.1bn single-use plates, and 4bn pieces of plastic cutlery end up in landfill every year.

However, she believed the ban had disregarded a huge proportion of single-use waste in the food and beverage sector like plastic cups, bottles and cans.

“Alcohol is a dominating industry in the UK, and cans and takeaway cups containing it contribute to this form of waste significantly,” she said. “The home is the best place to start with making small lifestyle changes for the planet, like cutting down on your personal use of single-use plastics.”

Something has to change within the beverage industry to cause a dramatic reduction in waste, according to Goodall. She believed the onus was on the Government to update policies in line with environmental protection and advancement, but also companies.

She also said consumers could help through consciously thinking about what they were buying and where from.

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