The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Act 2023
Commencement: Sections 3,4,17,21,22, and 23 come into force on 7th June 2023. The remainder is expected from October 2023.
Amends: New Legislation
The following sections come into force on 7th June 2023.
- Section 3 (Prohibited single-use plastic products: power to amend).
- Section 4 (Power to amend: duties relating to sustainable development and reporting).
- Section 17 (Civil sanctions).
- Section 21 (Regulations).
- Section 22 (Coming into force).
- Section 23 (Short title).
N.B. The remainder of the Act will be enacted by subsequent legislation, with the actual ban expected to come into effect from October 2023.
‘Single-use‘ means a plastic product that is intended to be used only once and then thrown away.
‘Plastic‘ refers to a material consisting of a polymer (other than an adhesive, paint or ink), or a material made of polymer mixed with other substances.
‘Plastic product‘ is an item:
- that is made entirely or partially from plastic; or
- that has a lining or coating made entirely or partially from plastic.
There are no duties for organisations. Duties will come into effect at a later date.
Prohibited single-use plastic products
The Schedule to this Act sets out a list of prohibited single-use plastic products including:
- lids for cups or takeaway food containers;
- takeaway food containers;
- balloon sticks;
- carrier bags;
- cotton buds; and
- any product made from oxo-degradable plastic*.
*Oxo-degradable plastic is a plastic mixed with a substance to make it break down faster when exposed to heat or light.
Responsibilities and powers of Welsh Ministers
Welsh Ministers must prepare and publish guidance on the single-use plastic products prohibited under this Act and the application of any exemptions.
Welsh Ministers may amend the list of banned single-use plastic products, exemptions and definitions following consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Section 5 (not currently in force) makes it an offence for a person* to supply or offer to supply a prohibited single-use plastic product to a consumer in Wales.
- a body corporate;
- a partnership;
- an unincorporated association; or
- a person acting as a sole trader.
Local authorities may investigate complaints, bring prosecutions, and take steps to reduce offences related to the supply of prohibited single-use plastic products.
An authorised officer* may:
- make test purchases and arrangements;
- enter premises at any reasonable time;
- carry out inspections;
- take samples;
- copy documents; and
- request relevant information.
*An authorised officer is any person appointed by a local authority.
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