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An Act to tackle plastic pollution and deliver our commitment to abolish commonly littered single-use plastic products.

First published:
20 September 2023
Last updated:


The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Act 2023 (“the Act”) makes it a criminal offence to supply or offer to supply (including for free) certain single-use plastic products to consumers in Wales, unless an exemption applies.

Details of the Act and the documents which supported its development can be found below:


To help understand how the Act works and how it may affect you, Welsh Ministers have published statutory guidance.


Phase 1 of the bans on single-use plastic products began on 30 October 2023 and includes:

  • Single-use plastic plates – this includes paper plates with a laminated plastic surface
  • Single-use plastic cutlery – for example forks, spoons, knives   
  • Single-use plastic drinks stirrers  
  • Cups made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene.
  • Takeaway food containers made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene
  • Single-use plastic balloon sticks
  • Single-use plastic-stemmed Cotton buds
  • Single-use plastic drinking straws – with exemptions so people who need them to eat and drink safely and independently can continue to have them.

We aim to introduce Phase 2 by Spring 2026 and this will include:

  • Carrier bags – with exemptions including carrier bags for raw fish, meat or poultry and unpackaged food
  • Polystyrene lids for cups and takeaway food containers
  • Oxo-degradable plastic products.

Under the Act the Welsh Ministers also have powers to add or remove products from the list of banned single-use plastic products. The Welsh Ministers will keep the list of banned products under review and may make changes if further action is needed to tackle plastic pollution.

Why did we introduce this law?

Many people in Wales are already taking action to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, by changing habits and making products and services more sustainable. As a government we are committed to supporting their efforts. 

The scale of the climate and ecological emergencies means the health of our environment must be prioritised.

This Act will give us even more tools to reduce our dependency on single-use plastics as quickly as possible. It is one of a range of actions Welsh Government is taking to encourage the shift away from single-use plastic products and to encourage people to take greater responsibility for their disposal. For example, we will also be introducing a Deposit Return Scheme by 2025 and setting up a new Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for packaging. Introducing this new law has contributed to our wider ambitions set out in our Circular Economy Strategy, Beyond Recycling and our draft Litter and Litter and Fly-tipping Prevention Plan

This is an opportunity for people in Wales to think differently about how they go about their daily lives, choosing reusable products and only using single-use items where absolutely necessary. This could help save money, as well as benefiting the environment.

Who is affected?

The offence of supplying a prohibited single-use plastic product can be committed by:

  • a business
  • an organisation such as a company or government body
  • a partnership
  • a person acting as a sole trader
  • a public service provider
  • a charity, club, syndicate or voluntary organisation. 

The ban does not apply to the supply of products between businesses.


We understand that in some cases there will need to be exceptions to the bans. Therefore, the Act allows the bans not to be followed in certain situations. There is more information about exceptions in our statutory guidance.  

Information for businesses

When the bans come into force

When the bans come into force businesses will have to:

  • Stop providing customers with banned single-use plastic products.
  • Tell their staff about these changes.

Once the bans are in force if businesses still have banned products they may want to speak to suppliers, your local council or trade association about how to recycle it.

There are many alternatives to single-use plastics products already on the market. Our draft guidance has more details on alternatives.

Help for businesses

Business Wales is the Welsh Government’s bilingual business support service, which provides a range of general business advice, information and signposting to encourage the creation, growth and sustainable development of micro businesses and small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

For further support or business advice, you can contact:

Call: 03000 603 000

Or visit the Business Wales Website

The Business Wales Helpline opening hours for calls are 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday except on public holidays.

Contact us

Support and Advice 

If you require further support or advice on these bans, please contact us at: 



Local Environment Quality Division 
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ