A number of businesses and organisations in recent weeks had questions around remaining stocks and plastic bags and we wished to clarify those exemptions. We hope the below questions/answers are of help to you and your various stakeholders too. This can also be found on the website (www.netzero.im/plastics).
What should I do with any remaining stocks?
One year’s notice was given from when the regulations were announced for those affected to use their remaining stocks and source suitable alternatives, all of which are readily available. Those supplying the single use plastic items after the enforcement date could be subject to a civil sanction such as a monetary fine.
Leftover stocks can be retained for personal use (as the ban does not control possession) or disposed of responsibly through the correct waste stream – you should recycle them if possible and ensure they do not enter the environment.
A fine may be waived during a transition period, if the Department agrees a plan with any business with remaining banned stock, that has plans in place to move to compliant items within a reasonable period. This should avoid any usable products going to waste if you have alternative, compliant products ordered, and will be using up the last of your old stock within an agreed short period.
What plastic bags are exempt from regulations?
The Regulations cover unused plastic carrier bags made of lightweight plastic. A carrier bag has handles. Lightweight plastic is plastic with a thickness of less than 70 microns. Your supplier should be able to advise of the grade/thickness of plastic.
The following plastic carrier bags are exempt and can still be used when the regulations come in to effect:
• Returnable multiple reuse bag – a bag which is sold to the end user and which — (a) is intended to be returnable to the seller from whom it was purchased to be replaced free of charge; (b) is made from material the thickness of which is not less than 50 microns but not greater than 70 microns; and (c) disregarding the width of any gussets, or the height of any handles extending above the main body of the bag — (i) has a width and height greater (in each case) than 404 mm; and (ii) has a width or height greater (in either case) than 439 mm. To determine the size and thickness of your carrier bags, you must speak with your supplier.
• Compostable – to be deemed a ‘compostable plastic” the material must be certified to the standard of BS EN 13432. To determine if the material is compostable you must speak with your supplier.
• Unwrapped food/meat/seed or medicine bag – a bag intended to be used solely to contain the afore-mentioned products for use or consumption.
• Live aquatic creatures bag – a bag intended to be used solely to contain live aquatic creatures in water.
• Woven plastic bag – a bag the material of which is made by interlacing long threads passing in one direction with others at a right angle to them
• Transit goods bag – a bag which is intended to be used to carry goods in a transit place, i.e. liquids in airports.
You can also supply used bags, for reuse.
Bags should not be made of ‘oxodegradable’ plastic, unless they are an exempt bag. Such bags include chemical additives which, through oxidation, lead to the fragmentation of the plastic material into microfragments or to chemical decomposition. They may be marketed as degradable or biodegradable.
The following are NOT prohibited under the single use carrier bag restriction (only bags provided at the point of sale for immediate use are being banned)
• Rolls of bin bags
• Dog poo bags
• Rolls of food bags
Help can be found in the Climate Change (Single Use Plastic) Regulations Guidance October 2022 document, but for further FAQs and resources please visit netzero.im/plastics.
While we encourage you to check directly with their suppliers, the team at DEFA are here to help. If you do have any specific queries or have remaining stocks and wish to agree a plan with the Department, please email the team at email@example.com.
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