Single use plastics ban to be enforced from 1 October

The ban on single-use plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks may affect optometry practices that serve drinks to patients

Image shows the hands of a woman who is holding a polystyrene cup and wearing a red checked winter scarf
Getty/ fotostorm

Healthcare settings that provide refreshments for patients could be affected by a single use plastics ban that will come into effect on 1 October.

Single use plastic plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks are to be banned in retail environments, with fines in place for those that do not comply.

“Businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England,” published government guidance states.

The ban will apply to healthcare retailers, including optometry practices, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed to OT.

A plastic or polystyrene cup provided for patients using a water fountain is an example of one item that will be banned under the new law.

Single use plastic plates provided for guests at charity bake sales or other events would able so liable.

The Government is advising businesses to use up any existing stock before 1 October.

Alternative materials or reusable items should be used going forward, the Government said.

Local authorities will be visiting businesses in order to check that they are complying and may speak to staff, test buy items or ask to see records.

Businesses who are found to be breaking the law could be asked to cover the costs of the investigation, the guidance suggests.

The full rules can be viewed on

This article was updated on 14 September to include further information, provided by Defra, on sanctions for non-compliance.

OT  asks...

Did you know about the ban on single use plastics in retail environments?
  • Yes

    4 5%
  • No

    68 94%

Will your practice be affected by the ban on single use plastics from 1 October?
  • Yes

    19 33%
  • No

    34 59%
  • Not sure

    4 7%