Single-use plastic and packaging has become an essential part of our lives. In the UK, households collectively throw away an estimated 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging each year. One way to reduce the amount of plastic we use is to introduce bans. In 2020, the UK government banned the sale of several single-use plastic products in England including straws, stirrers and cotton buds – but with exceptions for medical use.

Now, in an effort to further combat plastic pollution, a new ban has been introduced. From October 1 2023, businesses in England are prohibited from selling several other single-use plastic products including plastic cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene cups. But what will this ban actually change, and how effective is it likely to be? At the University of Portsmouth’s Global Plastics Policy Centre, we have reviewed more than 40 bans on plastic items to understand what makes such a policy successful.

People in the UK will no longer be able to buy single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays, unless they come with prepared food. Plastic cutlery and balloon sticks should disappear entirely. Plastics that are particularly difficult to recycle like polystyrene cups also have stricter rules, but with a few exceptions too.

To read the full story, visit
Author: Cressida Bowyer, Associate Professor in Arts and Sustainability, University of Portsmouth, Keiron Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Sustainability and the Built Environment, University of Portsmouth, and Antaya March, Lead Researcher – Global Plastics Policy Centre, University of Portsmouth, Yahoo! News
Photo by SHVETS production: