by Laura Barns
In May 2019, the UK government confirmed the phase-out date for plastic straws and drink stirrers, and cotton buds with plastic stems, banning the items from being sold in England from April 2020.
The move, which has been on the cards for almost two years, is aimed to cutback the estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 300 million stirrers, and two billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds that are used in England every year.
However, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (known as Defra) has pushed back the ban from May last 2019 to October 2020, because of complications due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Given the huge challenges posed to businesses by coronavirus, we have confirmed we will delay the introduction of our ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds until October 2020,’ Defra said in a statement.
‘We remain absolutely committed to turning the tide on the widespread use of single-use plastics and the threat they pose to our natural environment. This ban is yet another measure to clamp down on unnecessary plastic so we can better protect our precious wildlife and leave our environment in a better state for future generations.’
The ban on supplying plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds officially came into force in England on Thursday 1st October 2020.
This is one month after ministers confirmed that the single-use plastic bag charge would be increased to 10p and extended to all retailers.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
The government also stated that those with disabilities and those with medical conditions will be able to request a plastic straw when visiting a pub or restaurant, and will be able to purchase them from pharmacies.
Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, said:
Other key government actions on plastics include a world-leading ban on microbeads, consulting on introducing a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers, and committing to a ban on the export of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries. As announced recently, the 5p charge on single-use bags will be doubled to 10p and extended to all retailers from April 2021.
Laura is our Copywriter, who is obsessed with the Hearty Roots Stew (and has been known to eat a double serve for lunch on more than one occasion). On her day off you’ll find her walking her puppy Ralph, stopping off at bookshops and cocktail bars along the way.