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Time to cut out single-use, disposable plastic from foodservice

Following on from the ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds, the next items of single-use disposable plastic to be banned by the government in England from 1st October 2023 are disposable cutlery and all expanded polystyrene (EPS) food-to-go containers, plates and cups.  
Some operators may be surprised to learn that the new ban applies to all types of single-use plastic cutlery, including compostable and recycled. So, if you haven’t already switched to offering compostable wooden or paper disposable cutlery - now is the time to do so!  

When it comes to takeaway food containers, single-use plastic items can still be used if the food container is pre-filled or filled at the point of sale, and the ban does not apply to single-use plastic cups. The biggest changes from 1st October will be ruling out all EPS / polystyrene food containers or cups, and any type of plastic disposable cutlery.  For more info on the ban, visit for the full guidance.    

The good news is, eco-friendly options on the whole are much more widely available and more appealing to eco-conscious consumers, so making a subtle switch for your foodservice business to help cut down on single-use plastic (despite the new rules), shouldn't be too hard.  

In line with these changes, we will be adding some new lines soon – so keep checking our range for new possible alternatives.  

Going forward, what are the best options? 

Disposable cutlery - 

Compostable wooden cutlery is a great option - here's an example of wooden cutlery that you can order now from Thomas Ridley. 

Compostable paper board cutlery - these paper-based cutlery options are very popular with our customers. 

Recyclable and reusable eco-conscious stainless steel - if you haven't considered this option, why not give it a go!?

Reusable economy stainless steel - or, you could consider switching to metal, reusuable cutlery, if it's convenient for you to do so. 

Disposable cups -

Only EPS (polystyrene) cups are banned from 1st October. For everything else, you can still use recyclable plastic or lined, compostable cups; so there's no great change here. Below are some examples of the different disposable cups that we currently sell. 

Compostable paper board with a plant-based polylactic liner

Recyclable paper board with plastic liner.  

Clear plant-based compostable plastic cups and recyclable clear plastic cups

Disposable plates -

There are three great options to single-use plastic plates that we currently sell: 

Compostable Bagasse plates - already a very popular option with our customers. 

Recyclable paper plates - a sturdy and cost-effective option. 

Compostable palm plates - a premium option, these are great for parties and events where you want to provide a premium feel while still using disposable plates. 

Disposable food containers -

If pre-filled or filled at the point of sale, you still have all of the same options available as before the single-use plastic ban. 

Compostable and recyclable paper board containers, such as burger trays, and items of compostable paper board with a plant-based plastic liner, such as these takeaway soup containers

Compostable Bagasse food containers, such as these popular clamshell design takeaway food containers

Compostable plant-based clear plastic containers, such as these deli containers or these recyclable paper board options, with a plastic liner.  

And, all recyclable clear plastic options, such as these recyclable clear plastic bowls and sandwich containers

To re-cap, here is a table to help you navigate the new rules based on what Thomas Ridley can offer you


  • Compostable wood  
  • Compostable paper board  
  • Recyclable and reusable eco-conscious stainless steel  
  • Reusable stainless steel cutlery  


  • Compostable paper board with a plant based polylactic liner 
  • Recyclable paper board with plastic liner  
  • Recyclable clear plastic cups/pints  


  • Compostable bagasse
  • Recyclable paper plates 
  • Compostable palm 

Food Containers

  • Compostable paper board and plant based polylactic liner
  • Compostable bagasse
  • Compostable and recyclable paper board base  
  • Compostable plant based clear plastic
  • Recyclable paper board with plastic liner 
  • Recyclable clear plastic - if items are pre-filled or filled at the point of sale 

We hope you've found this blog useful! 

Thank you for being a Thomas Ridley Customer. 

Find out more about how we're operating as sustainably as possible.