Climate Action

UK Government announces plan to ban plastic straws

The UK Government has announced plans to ban plastic straws, cotton-buds and stirrers.

  • 22 October 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

The UK Government has announced plans to ban plastic straws, cotton-buds and stirrers.

The ban would be put in place between October 2019 and October 2020 and intends to introduce a ban on the distribution of sales.

The plan is subject to a consultation launched by Environmental Secretary Michael Gove.

Michael Gove said: “Our precious oceans and the wildlife within need urgent protection from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause. In England we are taking world-leading action with our ban on microbeads, and thanks to the public’s support have taken over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5p charge.”

In England it is estimated that we use 4.7 billion straws a year. At present, an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year. This has resulted in over 267 species worldwide being affected and 700 species at risk of becoming extinct. It has also been reported that over 90 per cent of seabirds have plastic in their stomach.

Despite non-plastic alternatives being readily available for the public, the Government continue to spend millions of pounds to clean up the growing litter every year.

Companies such as Starbucks and McDonalds have already pledged to phase out their use of plastic straws by replacing them with paper alternatives.

Greenpeace UK’s political adviser Sam Chetan Welsh said: “If we are to protect our oceans from the scourge of plastic, the flow of waste needs to be cut off at the tap. And that means the companies producing and selling all this packaging must take responsibility for it and cut down the amount of plastic ending up in our shopping baskets.”