The British Independent Retailers Association, BIRA, is urging businesses to be prepared for the upcoming single-use plastics ban coming into force on October 1.
Bira, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, is warning that some shopkeepers are either unaware or unprepared for the upcoming change to regulations or single-use plastics on plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks which comes into force in just a few weeks’ time.
The new rules outlined by the government mean that businesses will face stringent regulations regarding single-use plastics, for online and over-the-counter sales and supply, items from new and existing stock, and include all types of single-use plastic, including biodegradable, compostable and recycled.
Compliance with these regulations is essential, as breaches can result in fines for business owners and local authorities will be carrying out inspections.
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira said: “The ban on single use plastics is coming into force as from 1 October, and breaches of these new regulations will result in fines for the business owners. It is therefore crucial to really understand the new regulations and start planning to use up old stock and bring in new legal products to replace the single use plastic items. All new regulations invariably mean more costs to business, but planning ahead can mitigate the impact of this.
“The regulations are a measure to improve recycling and ultimate the negative impact on the environment. We should all want to do what we can, but it has to be reasonable for the business. Retailers will need to start now (if not done so already) to source replacement stock – I have seen increasing use of paper bags and re-usable nets in food shops. For delis the same rules apply, but food served at the counter can still be served in single use containers – however now might be the right time to change everything and establish stronger environmental credentials.
“The message is clear, get to know the rules, start planning and tell the customer you have made the changes. It might even be possible to turn this cost into an opportunity,” he added.
Bira remains dedicated to advocating for the interests of independent retailers and helping them navigate the changing retail landscape. The association continues to work closely with its members, providing guidance and resources to aid their resilience and success.