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02 November 2023 Press Release

Who is policing the continuing sale of banned single-use plastics by online retailers?

FPA: Who is policing the continuing sale of banned single-use plastics by online retailers?


Following the single-use plastic ban – which came into force in England on October 01 – the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) is asking why online retailers such as Amazon and eBay are still offering banned items for sale, and who is policing them to ensure the ban is enforced?

More the 20 days after the ban was introduced, banned items including plastic bowls, trays, plates, cutlery, balloon sticks, and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) items – such as drink cups and food boxes – are still being openly sold direct to the public by Amazon, eBay, office suppliers and others.

While single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays may still be sold to businesses for use as packaging – on none of the reviewed websites is the sale of these items restricted to businesses.

EPS and XPS foamed cups and boxes, together with plastic cutlery, are banned without exemptions, so these items must not be offered for sale to either the public or to businesses.

In the period leading up to the legislation start date – and following an FPA investigation, which revealed there were many months’ of supplies still sitting in warehouses, takeaways and caterers – the FPA asked government for additional time for businesses to use up stocks, given the delayed and confusing information issued by Defra.

The request was refused, as was a plea to allow banned items to be donated to charities to avoid unnecessary wastage of new, unused items.

“FPA members adhere to a strict FPA Code of Practice – including operating strictly within the laws of the countries in which they trade”, says Martin Kersh, executive director of the FPA.

“Consequently, our members are not supplying non-exempted banned items to their trade customers, or to members of the public. It is disheartening to see Amazon, eBay and others exploiting this lack of supply by blatantly flouting the law”.

Preventing this illegal trade requires Trading Standards’ intervention.  Aside from some Trading Standards’ communications being incorrect, its communications are aimed at small local businesses. Nowhere is it indicated that they intend cracking down – and imposing the legally required fines – on the major online marketplaces.

Kersh concludes: “Why should responsible FPA members – who are abiding by the legislation and the FPA Code of Practice – lose out, while other, more unscrupulous traders benefit by continuing to sell banned items online? If not Trading Standards, the FPA would like to know who is policing and enforcing the single-use plastics ban across these digital marketplaces?”.


Notes to editors

Examples of banned items being sold by online retailers can be found via the links below:


eBay – plastic cutlery

Amazon – plastic cutlery

eBay – polystyrene cups

eBay – plastic plates

An FPA spokesperson is available for interviews and/or further comment. Please contact Louise Holmes, FPA Media & Communications: 07909 728069 or email

About the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA)  

The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) is a leading trade body, representing organisations associated with the foodservice packaging industry. Its membership includes both large global companies and smaller businesses – offering a broad range of foodservice products and services – together with organisations responsible for the waste collection, processing and recycling of foodservice packaging.  


The FPA upholds the interests of its members when meeting with UK government, the devolved administrations, NGOs and other trade associations. Its executives sit on a number of steering groups, including: the DRS industry working group; the HMRC industry working group for the plastics tax; and the steering group for overall Defra reforms.  


The FPA’s mission is to showcase innovation and provide a unified voice to advance and promote the foodservice packaging industry through advocacy and education. The annual FPA Exhibition and Awards celebrate members’ achievements and innovations; FPA Environment Seminars bring together high-level speakers from governments, industry and academia – allowing members to engage directly with policy makers and thought leaders; and the FPA’s weekly Digest disseminates complex issues, translating them into plain English to keep members informed of recent and upcoming legislation; environmental and sustainable issues; and the views and activities of relevant NGOs and other sector bodies.  


The FPA is committed to promoting sustainable practices and responsible stewardship of the environment. All FPA members undertake to comply with the FPA Code of Practice, confirming that their organisations operate to the highest standards.  

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