A complete ban on plastic straws was to be put into effect from April, however, it was delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the ban has been brought into effect from today as businesses in England will not be able to provide customers with plastic straws, plastic drinks stirrers, and cotton buds as well.
According to a report in The Independent, from October 1, it will be illegal for businesses to supply plastic straws, stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds to customers, with exemons in place to protect disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws.
Responding to the ban, the UK government said it was the latest step in the fight against single-use plastic waste to protect the environment and oceans. George Eustice, the UK environmental secretary, said the government was committed to tackling the issue of single-use plastic and its environmental impact.
He said, “Our 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95 percent 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.”
An estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds were used in England each year, according to officials.
Other nations that have taken steps to reduce plastic use are Scotland who banned the sale of plastic cotton buds last year and also Wales which announced plans to ban single-use plastic items in March.