Packaging Regulations Your Catering Business Must Know

If you own or manage a catering business or sell food that is ordered as take-away, there are some plastic packaging regulations you need to know. There are new regulations that completely eliminate certain types of plastic packaging and plastic accessories like straws and drink stirs. There are additional fees and taxes related to using plastic containers that are not made up of a certain amount of recycled material.
There are other options if caterers and food businesses offering take-out don't want to use plastic containers. There are also options for re-usable items, such and offering deposit-return for items that can be washed, sanitized, and used again. If you own or manage a food business it will pay to look into adopting such a program or finding out what alternatives to plastic packaging are available.

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Getting rid of problem plastics

Problem plastics are those that do not serve any proven or useful purpose other than to contain food items. Under the new UK Plastic Pact, the goal is to eliminate plastic packaging that does not serve to keep fresh vegetables or fruits fresh.
There are also problem plastics that may be harmful to consumers. over 80% of PVC plastics have been eliminated from use in the food supply, to protect consumers (Waste and Resource Action Program, 2022). All packaging used in food service must be proven to be food safe.

Reducing the amount of plastic used

Reducing the amount of plastic used in food service and food delivery is another challenge for the food service and hospitality industries. Food that has been genetically modified and foods in certain other categories must have a separate label, regardless of how they are packaged or what type of container is used to provide them to consumers.
Companies are encouraged to adopt deposit return policies so consumers can return reusable containers for food and beverages, to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used in food service.

In 2020, the UK banned plastic straws, drink stirrers, and other plastics used for drinks. This means caterers and food service businesses must offer reusable items or provide other alternatives to customers.

Tax on Plastics 

Today, any company using plastic packaging made up of less than 30% recycled material must pay an additional tax. The cost of the tax may be passed on to food service industry businesses.
In an effort to reduce the use of disposable plastic carrying bags, there is now an additional charge for them throughout the UK. This means that individuals picking up their take-out orders may need to be encouraged to bring their own reusable carry bags or coolers when picking up their orders.

For caterers, some alternatives include insulated food carriers that are re-washable and can be used over and over, from one catering job to another.

There are many alternatives to using plastic food packaging for catering events or offering take out food. Businesses need to know what those alternatives are to avoid paying extra fees for the use of packaging that is not made up of recycled materials.