The amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and the effect this has on marine life has had a lot of Press coverage recently. There is undoubtedly a need to reduce our plastic waste as a society and to increase the amount we recycle. 8.5 billion plastic straws are used every year and they are one of the types of plastic most commonly found on our beaches. It is estimated that of the 13 billion plastic drink bottles purchased each year 3 billion of these are not currently being recycled and are ending up in the ocean.
There is as yet no legislation restricting the use of plastic straws in pubs and hotels, however, the BBPA has published guidance urging its members to stop using plastic straws and to find an alternative such as paper straws. The guidance paper can be found HERE
The Government has recently announced its intention to introduce a deposit scheme for all single use drinks containers e.g. plastic and glass bottles and metal cans. There is likely to be either an upfront deposit charged when a bottle/can is purchased or a cash reward given when a bottle/can is returned. Proposals include bottles and cans being returned via reverse vending machines which sort containers and issue cash refunds.
DEFRA has acknowledged that a deposit scheme would place an additional burden on the hospitality sector and has said that this must be carefully considered during the consultation process before any scheme is introduced. UKHospitality has called on the Government for an opt out from the deposit scheme for businesses where drinks are sold on the premises.
Freeths will keep you updated as more details of the deposit scheme are known.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.