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Plastic Straws, Stirrers And Cotton Buds Banned In England From Today

Plastic Straws, Stirrers And Cotton Buds Banned In England From Today

England has finally implemented the plastic ban after a six month delay.

Joanna Freedman

Joanna Freedman

Supplying plastic straws, stirrers, cotton buds and other plastic items is illegal in England from today, the government has announced.

As set out in their 25 year environmental plan, the ban will seek to eliminate the waste of an estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds used in England every year.

The initiative was supposed to come into place six months ago, before being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cotton puds are among the plastics banned (

The only exemption will be in hospitals, bars and restaurants, where they will be permitted to provide plastic straws to those with disabilities or medical conditions that mean they need one.

It comes as part of the government's efforts to curb the country's plastic pollution, as we work towards the elimination of avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

"Single-use plastics cause real devastation to the environment and this government is firmly committed to tackling this issue head on," said Environment Secretary George Eustice.

"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."

The plastic is polluting the ocean (

The ban comes not longer after Ministers confirmed they would be doubling the price of a single use plastic bag to 10p from next Spring, while also extending the law so that it applies to all retailers in the country.

Plans have also been announced for a £500m Blue Planet Fund, which will see to help protect the ocean against overfishing, plastic pollution and warming sea temperatures.

They also set up a tax on any plastic packaging that is not at least 30 per cent recyclable, as well as announcing a deposit return scheme to encourage plastic bottle recycling is in the works.

Estimates show that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year.

Campaigners have therefore welcomed the move from the government, but warned that these specific items are only a "fraction" of the plastic waste we need to tackle.

Activists say we still need to do more (

The BBC report Sion Elis Williams, of Friends of the Earth, said ministers "must also do more to challenge our throwaway culture by forcing a shift away from all single-use materials in favour of reusable alternatives".

Meanwhile, Tatiana Lujan, from environmental law charity ClientEarth, said the items banned were "some of the most pointless plastics out there" and the move was "a no-brainer".

She added that they were only "a tiny fraction" of the single-use plastics out there, and praised France for having "shown far more ambition" with their targets.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Environment, Life News, climate change, News