It has been announced that three plastic items will be banned in England from next year, in an attempt to tackle plastic pollution.
Environment secretary Michael Gove confirmed that these items will no longer be sold under the plastic ban
- plastic straws
- plastic stirrers
- cotton buds
The ban comes after a public consultation found that an “overwhelming” 80% of people supported the ban.
So what does the plastic ban mean?
From April 2020, there will be a ban on the supply of these items, meaning places selling food and drink will not be able to display plastic straws, or hand them out.
There are exemptions however, and those who need to use plastic straws for medical reasons, or due to a disability, will be allowed to buy and request them. Cotton buds will also still be permitted for use in scientific settings.
Michael Gove explained today that this action is necessary to help save the worlds oceans and animals.
He 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.
“It is estimated there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans and every year one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.”
Items such as cotton buds are often disposed of incorrectly, with many flushing them down their toilets. However, this means that cotton buds often clog up sewers, or worse, end up in oceans putting sea life at risk.
Commenting on today’s news, representatives from various disability charities have also revealed that they are pleased the law change will make exceptions for those who might need flexible straws to drink hot or cold drinks.
Lauren West, from Muscular Dystrophy UK, explained to ITV, “Plastic straws are sometimes the only type of straw that work for disabled people due to their flexibility and ability to be used in hot and cold drinks.”