Government to ban plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Annually the UK uses 4.7bn plastic straws
Has anyone actually looked at all of the different small plastic items we have? Are you going to ...

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A consultation to ban plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds has been launched by environment secretary Michael Gove.

Annually the UK uses 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m plastic stirrers and 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

An estimated 10% of cotton buds are flushed down toilets and can end up in waterways and oceans.

The ban will look at how to ensure those who need straws for medical reasons can still use them and when a ban is likely to come into force.

Pharmacies will still be able to sell plastic straws and restaurants, with pubs and bars able to stock some straws for use on request.

Government anticipates the ban will be brought in between October 2019 and October 2020.

Gove said: “Our precious oceans and the wildlife within need urgent protection from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause.

“I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers but we recognise we need to do more.”

Cleaning up the effects of littering costs local government millions of pounds every year.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: “These bans mark the end of a disposable culture that ends up poisoning ourselves with waste and pollution and the start of a revolution towards a circular sustainable economy.

“We now need to move to extended producer responsibility schemes to meet the overwhelming public appetite to reduce litter and environmental pollution, and help us to reuse and recycle more of what we consume.”

Government has committed a £61.4m funding package to boost global research and help Commonwealth countries stop plastic waste from entering our oceans.



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Comments
Has anyone actually looked at all of the different small plastic items we have? Are you going to ban each of these one at a time? Think about what alternatives will be generated to replace each of these items. Humans are innovative and will find a way to profit. These problems could also be from holes in the recycling processes. Why not encourage those at the face of the issue to find an effective fix? If the sewage treatment facilities could capture these small tubes they could recycle them for a small return. Or turn this into a nation competition.

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