My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Countdown begins to single use plastics ban in Wales

There is one month to go before a number of single use plastic items will be banned from being sold across Wales.

In December 2022, Wales made history by becoming the first part of the UK to legislate against a thorough list of single-use plastics when the Senedd approved legislation to ban selling unnecessary, disposable products to consumers.

This will start to come into effect on Monday, October 30 when the following items will be banned from being sold across the country:

  • Single-use plastic plates
  • Single-use plastic cutlery
  • Single-use plastic drinks stirrers
  • Cups made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene.
  • Takeaway food containers made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene
  • Single-use plastic balloon sticks
  • Single-use plastic-stemmed Cotton buds
  • Single-use plastic drinking straws *

The new law is a key step in reducing the flow of damaging plastic waste into the Welsh environment and is being introduced following consultation with the public and other stakeholders.

It will give local authorities the power to enforce the offence of supplying or offering to supply the commonly littered items – even when they are free.

Wales is currently ranked as the world’s third best domestic recycler and the new law demonstrates how the Welsh Government is continuing to take ambitious steps to tackle the climate and nature emergencies.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said, “This is a proud moment for Wales as we make another stride forward in eradicating plastic from our beaches, streets, and landfill.

“If we all take a ‘Team Wales’ approach and look to reuse, recycle and repair more, it’ll help create a greener future for generations to come.

“Single-use plastics are discarded without thought, causing harm to wildlife and our environment.

“These bans build on the actions of communities across Wales who are reducing their reliance on unnecessary single-use plastic.

“We’re asking businesses and organisations to ready themselves for the change by reducing their stock levels, recycling existing stock and consider switching to reusable alternatives – and where this isn’t possible, looking at non-plastic alternatives.”

The second phase of the ban will include plastic single-use carrier bags, polystyrene lids for cups and food containers and products made of oxo-degradable plastic. This will come into force before the end of the Senedd term.

The University of South Wales has been on a mission to reduce the use of single use plastics since 2018.

Head of Hospitality Jason Edwards said: “Small steps were taken in the beginning, which then led to bigger steps as we grew more confident with the solutions we were developing to achieve our goals.

“Over the last five years we have introduced a range of affordable reusable products such as reusable salad and hot meal takeaway boxes, soup containers, reusable coffee cups, introduced glasses  at water fountains and added china options for those customers that forget their reusable cups.

“Where we couldn’t offer our customers a reusable product, we instead looked at how we could improve our single use products to be more ethical.

“Solutions included the substitution of polystyrene take away boxes for clamshell boxes, wooden cutlery in place of plastic, paper straws in place of plastic and sauces served in paper pots instead of sachets.

“We didn’t incur any negative feedback when we launched the levy, but we did make sure we offered suitable reusable alternatives to help customers avoid this charge in the first place.

“We have learned that young people were and continue to be supportive of change.”