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15 February 2023 General

Single-use plastic (SUP) ban expected to cost FPA members over £100m per annum

FPA member responses to a survey on Defra’s SUP ban indicate many distributors are confused about what will be banned and what will be acceptable – leading to uncertainty regarding the financial implications. Defra’s guidance document is needed now before businesses incur more costs.

Based on the understanding of the businesses surveyed regarding what is to be banned, leading distributors and producers predict the bans will cost the packaging industry £100 million. Almost half also expect a fall in turnover.

The FPA is asking Defra to issue its guidance as a matter of urgency so companies – some of which have thousands of employees – can plan accordingly.

The majority of businesses surveyed don’t believe the ban will result in increased UK investment into non-plastic alternatives, and 52% foresee difficulties in sourcing them. Over 82% say that the availability of alternatives is already limited, and that supplies will inevitably need to be sourced from outside the UK – leading to longer lead times (53%) and increased costs (68%).

Despite Defra’s press release, a third (37%) of respondents are finding it hard to predict what the costs are likely to be ‘until we understand exactly what is banned’.

“Members have made their views known on what their understanding of the Defra ban is, based on Defra’s press release”, says Martin Kersch, Executive Director of the Foodservice Packaging Association.

“It is concerning to see the continuing uncertainty remaining around whether the term ‘partly made from plastic’ refers to lined board bowls, plates and cutlery – and whether these items are banned or acceptable”, he continued.

“The ban will add greatly to costs, and with global demand ahead of production, businesses will face more costs from alternatives that inevitably will be sourced from outside the UK. Passing these costs on to the public – already struggling with inflation – could be difficult.

“Businesses are facing uncertainty and are having to make decisions based on guesswork, including whether to reduce their employee numbers. This makes it even more imperative or Defra to publish clear guidance now”.


Notes to editors

Survey data was collected via an online questionnaire and through a series of emails and telephone calls to FPA members during February 2023. 36 members responded.

Interviews and/or further comment available on request with Martin Kersh, Executive Director of the FPA, via Louise Holmes, FPA Media & Communications: 07909 728069 or