Following Wales and Scotland's footsteps, the government has confirmed that as of October 2023, certain single-use plastic items will be banned in England - hooray! In an effort to tackle England’s growing plastic problem, the ban will cover items such as plastic cutlery, plates and trays - meaning retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry will no longer be allowed to use or sell these. Government figures suggest 1.1 billion single-use plates and more than four billion pieces of plastic cutlery are used in England every year (yikes). And there is only one place for these pieces of plastic to go - landfill. Where they’ll be stuck for a very, VERY long time. It’s no secret that single-use plastic is one of the more damaging human resources, yet it's also the most widely used and it's difficult to change people’s on-the-go habits. Convenience and hygiene factors make single-use items a key part of our everyday lives. So if we need them, we need to find sustainable alternatives to plastic. Which is where we, decent packaging, come in.
We spoke to our CEO Sam Chote about the ban and decent's role in these developments...
What does this single-use plastic ban mean for packaging in general and where do you see decent’s role in this space as more regulations come into place?
This ban is transitioning the packaging industry away from oil which is what we started the business to do. There are great alternatives now made from sustainable materials and plants and this is what we specialise in.
The more products we can transition away from fossil fuels, and reduce going to landfill, helps move to the ideal circular economy, in which we help play a positive role.
There have been comments from those in the hospitality industry about compostable packaging being more expensive. How can we incentivise businesses to use compostable packaging?
Everyone has gone through a tough couple of years, particularly hospitality businesses and people are obviously being cautious of their spending. We’re here to simplify the sustainability of alternative products (compostable, using plants) and this comes at a premium at this stage as it's still done on such a small scale compared to plastic.
We support customers making gradual changes as and when they can and we want to support them along their sustainability journey.
What’s your view on deposit return schemes? How will this work with what decent provides?
There are a number of people doing deposit return schemes in the UK and some of them work really well, particularly when you have a captive audience such as an office building. We absolutely support reuse and believe everyone should be reusing as much as possible.
But we have identified there are occasions where convenience continues to exist and always will, and our space in the market is trying to transition those occasions away from reliance on fossil fuels, and we think using plants is a great way of doing that.
Sustainability is a journey and we’ll never stop looking for ways to do things better.
Our mission at decent is as much to simplify sustainability as it is to unmake everything we make.
So bring on the new, and let us help you in creating a better future, today.