Plastic Straw Ban

2nd October 2020

Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a ban on plastic straws, plastic stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

It is estimated that 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 precious marine wildlife and move one step closer to achieving the Government’s ambition of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

As of 1 October, it is now illegal for businesses to supply plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds to customers. There are exemptions in place to protect disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws, and to allow cotton-buds to continued to be used for forensic and scientific purposes. Businesses will also have time to adapt to these changes, and may continue to supply stock acquired before 1 October for six months.

This is part of the Government’s strategy to eliminate the scourge of plastic blighting our seas and landscapes. 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 waste to non-OECD countries. As announced recently, the 5p charge on single-use bags will be increased to 10p and extended to all retailers from April 2021.

From April 2022, the Government will also introduce a new world-leading tax on plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content, to encourage greater use of recycled plastic.

Alok Sharma said: “I welcome the Government’s announcement of a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. This is an important step towards achieving our goals set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and will help reduce plastic waste.”

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