The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is being urged to inform small foodservice providers on the single-use plastic ban by the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA).
From October 2023, businesses will no longer be able to supply plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks.
The FPA argue that there wasn’t accompanying public information when Defra announced some of the items earlier this year. As guidance was not published until May – and only available in English – the FPA argue that many small foodservice providers might have restocked items to last them until after October.
Once the guidance is in place the FPA is requesting that Defra grants a delay of at least three months to allow operators to use up existing stocks.
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FPA executive director Martin Kersh said the guidance needs to be clearly communicated and published in different languages to “reflect the diverse nature of the small independent takeaway trade.”
“To raise awareness, it should also be accompanied by a large-scale publicity campaign, which includes advice for affected businesses on disposing of surplus banned stock responsibly,” he commended.
“Once that happens, an additional three-month delay for small independent takeaway businesses seems reasonable and will avoid the financial hardship of scrapping stock, which has already been paid for, and then purchasing new, more expensive stock to replace it.
“Ultimately, and despite the prime minister’s wish that environmental measures should not impact on inflation, for takeaway businesses to survive, the cost will inevitably have to be passed on to their customers,” he added.
A Defra spokesperson told Sustainability Beat: “We have worked closely with the Foodservice Packaging Association since the consultation on these bans in November 2021 to better understand the needs of small food service providers.
“We have engaged with small businesses to raise awareness of the bans starting in October, and will continue to support them with the transition,” they added.