Plastic Straws, Stirrers And Cotton Buds To Be Banned From Next Year

22 May 2019, 07:12

Plastic straws are being banned from next year
Plastic straws are being banned from next year. Picture: PA

Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will be banned in England from April next year.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed a ban on the supply of the items, saying there is "overwhelming" public support for the move.

Mr Gove said: "Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life.

"So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations."

The ban is part of efforts to tackle pollution and protect the environment.

People who still need to use straws for medical reasons or a disability will still be able to get hold of them though.

Emma Priestland, plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the ban didn't go far enough: “Legislation to cut down on pointless plastic is good to see but these three items are just a fraction of the single-use plastic nasties that are used for a tiny amount of time before potentially polluting the natural environment for centuries to come.

“Ultimately we need producers to take responsibility for the plastic pollution caused by all their products; whether it’s bags, balloons, packets, containers or otherwise. This is why we’re campaigning for legislation to cut back on pointless plastic across the board.”

Greenpeace campaigner Sam Chetan-Welsh said: "It's been a long time coming, but we welcome the news that the Government is finally enforcing a ban on throwaway plastics like straws, cotton buds and stirrers. The reality is though, that these bans only scratch the surface.

"To really tackle the plastic crisis we need bigger bolder action from this Government, including targets to radically reduce the production of single-use plastics and an all-inclusive deposit return scheme for drinks containers."