What support will the Welsh Government offer small businesses to transition from single use plastic, if the Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill becomes law?
There is no specific package to support businesses in their transition to alternative products; however, wider help is available. Business Wales, for example, provide businesses and entrepreneurs with a single point of contact for business information, advice and support from the public, private and voluntary sectors. Resource Efficiency Advisors are available to support businesses to adopt or improve environmental strategies, and work with businesses towards creating a resource-efficient and resilient business. Business Wales has led the Green Ambition campaign to raise awareness of the Plastic Packaging tax with support from Resource Efficiency advisers to understand implications and consider new approaches.
The Business Wales website has a business finance zone offering specialised guidance and information to help identify appropriate finance. Financial help is also available via the Development Bank of Wales (DBW) which helps Welsh businesses get the finance they need to start up, strengthen and grow. It can provide loans and other funding. DBW can also help businesses find the right finance partner to leverage in private finance with its own gap finance when necessary.
The Food & Drink Wales initiative provides a range of support to Welsh food and drink SMEs to help them achieve higher standards of social and environmental responsibility. This includes direct support for attaining B-Corp accreditation, fully funded to business sustainability and decarbonisation training delivered through Food Skills Cymru, and the Food & Drink Sustainability Cluster which provides links between business and academia, such as the Advanced Manufacturing & Research Centre, for developing industry solutions. The Cluster has engaged with Innovate UK’s Smart Sustainable Plastics Packaging Challenge.
We will continue to work with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of Convenience Stores to co-produce guidance and assist with communications. This will help to provide clarity on the products to be banned, the exemptions, the actions businesses need to take to prepare for these bans and the alternative products available.
The phased commencement of the bans, with oxo-degradable plastics, polystyrene lids and single-use plastic carrier bags coming in at a later stage, will also provide small businesses more time to transition from these products.