CAFES and takeaways in Wales are coming to terms with the national ban on single-use plastic products including plates, cutlery and straws.

The Welsh Government hopes the ban, which also prohibits the sale and supply of items such as single-use cotton buds and balloon sticks, will reduce the flow of plastic pollution into the environment.

A survey of 3,851 people in 2020 found almost 9 in 10 were in favour of the move and the Senedd approved the legislation in December 2022.

Climate change minister Julie James has said the law “builds on momentum” from people and businesses who have chosen to “defy throwaway culture” and transition from single-use plastics voluntarily.

“We’re also looking at plastic based wet wipes which can block drains, contribute to flooding and add microplastic fibres to our environment,” she said.

“If we all take a Team Wales approach and look to reuse, recycle and repair more, it’ll help create a greener future for generations to come.”

The law allows exemptions for those who need drinking straws to eat and drink safely and independently.

‘We are a bit stuck’

Mohammed Asif, 46, says Eschaal’s Fish and Chips on Upper Dock Street is still waiting to learn the costs for alternative trays and cutlery from their suppliers.

“There’s a lot of issues at the moment with the cost-of-living. Business is difficult because the price of everything is up," he said.

South Wales Argus: Eschaal's Fish and Chips on Upper Dock St

“Whatever they need us to use, we will use. We will follow the rules. We are part of the community and we support the idea of a cleaner Wales – even plastic-free.”

Martin Lenderwou, 40, from Newport, said he stopped buying his favourite drink – milkshakes – when McDonald’s swapped plastic straws for paper in 2018.

Read more: This part of Gwent has seen a dramatic improvement in recycling rates

“They are useless,” he said. “They don’t last as long as the drink does.

“I love milkshakes but I won’t get them now. The straw gets all soggy and it tastes of cardboard, too. They break because of the moisture.

South Wales Argus: "Bring back plastic," says Martin Lenderwou

“Bring back plastic, I say.”

Sean Kervin, 61, visiting from Portsmouth said: “If it’s going to make a substantial difference to the environment, I’m all for it.

“But how much is it going to impact people’s daily lives, and businesses? That is the question.

“In the good old days, places used newspapers to wrap up the food so they might go back to that.”

South Wales Argus: Sean Kervin wonders whether chippies will use newspapers again

Lisa Mander, owner of Lisa’s Kitchen on Griffin Street, Newport, feels the change has not given businesses like hers enough time to prepare.

“It is a bit annoying. I buy hundreds of these things at a time. I have boxes and boxes of those old straws. What are we meant to do with them now?”

South Wales Argus: Lisa Mander of Lisa's Kitchen

“I use plastic containers when I do big batches of curry because I know I can microwave them. I can’t do that with paper. I can’t freeze paper.

“We are a bit stuck at the moment.”

The government has said the next phase of the ban - which they intend to implement before the next Senedd election in 2026 - will extend to single-use plastic carrier bags, polystyrene lids for cups and food containers and products made of oxo-degradable plastic.