Interim guidance for the Plastic and Related Products Regulations

Guidance for the Plastic and Related Products Regulations around what alternatives to use, and what to do with existing stock.

More detailed guidance around scope, alternatives, compliance, monitoring and enforcement will be published around August 2022.

Alternatives

Practical alternatives are readily available for the items being banned in October 2022, and many businesses and individuals have already made changes (eg, switching to reusable containers where possible).  

Alternatives include reusable products (encouraged where possible), and other single-use packaging products made from recyclable plastics such as PET (type 1), HDPE (type 2), PP (type 5), or fibre-based packaging.  

Which alternative should you switch to

When choosing alternatives, think about whether the item is necessary and if so, how the item is likely to be disposed of and what recycling and recovery options are available. 

Some questions to consider: 

  • Is the product necessary?
  • Is the product consumed away-from-home?
  • Is the product a tray or container that is likely to be consumed at home?

Single-use plastic items like drink stirrers and cotton buds are used for seconds and then thrown away, and they are frequently littered.   

Replace drink stirrers with reusable spoons, reduce the use of cotton buds where possible, and use the fibre-stemmed ones when necessary (fibre-stemmed cotton buds are available at the supermarkets and some department stores).

Products consumed away-from-home are less likely to be recycled or composted, due to a lack of public collection facilities and high rates of contamination in public recycling bins.

Reusable packaging is always the best alternative for takeaway containers where possible. Many cafes and businesses are encouraging “bring your own” models. There is also a growing number of reusable systems such as AgainAgain, MiKuppi and Reusabowl. Otherwise, use recyclable plastics (types 1, 2 and 5) or fibre-based packaging.

Trays and containers made of PET plastic (type 1) are accepted in most councils kerbside recycling collections, so they are a good alternative.

What to do with existing stock

We recommend retailers begin working through their existing stock now in preparation for the bans coming in force on 1 October 2022. 
 
Drink stirrers, cotton-buds, pro-degradant plastics and PVC food trays and containers are unable to be recycled, so try to use these up before 1 October 2022.  
 
Some expanded polystyrene recycling is available – look at what is available in your area on the EXPOL website 

Further guidance around these bans coming soon

More detailed guidance around scope, alternatives, compliance, monitoring and enforcement will be published around August 2022. The Ministry also intends to run webinars alongside this guidance, with more information available around mid-2022.