The ban on supplying plastic straws and stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds has come into force in England today (Thursday 1 October), marking yet another major step in the Government’s fight against single-use plastic waste to protect our environment and clean up our oceans.

Just one month after ministers confirmed the single-use plastic bag charge would be increased to 10p and extended to all retailers, today’s commencement of the ban will further ensure the country builds back greener.

It is estimated we use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds in England every year, many of which find their way into our ocean. By banning the supply of these items, we can further protect our marine wildlife and move one step closer to our ambition of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste, as set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

  • “Single-use plastics cause real devastation to the environment and this government is firmly committed to tackling this issue head on.”
  • “We are already a world-leader in this global effort. Our 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets, we have banned microbeads, and we are building plans for a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers.”
  • “The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.”

However, whilst making this attempt to move towards a greener Britain, the Government are still looking to protect elderly and disabled people. As such, these people will be able to request a plastic straw from restaurants/bars and will be able to purchase them from pharmacies.

It is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean globally every year, which has produced many scenes of marine wildlife being injured or killed by plastic waste. The UK is leading on a wide programme of overseas engagements, including through the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance and the Commonwealth Litter Programme, aiming to prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean in the first place.

The government is also committed to launching a £500 million Blue Planet Fund to protect the ocean from plastic pollution, warming sea temperatures and overfishing.

* All information sourced from https://www.gov.uk/*

 

 

Author: Michael McLoughlin