England Intends To Ban Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds And Drink Stirrers

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Plastic straws, cotton buds, and drink stirrers are to be banned from sale and use in England from April 2020, the government has confirmed.

England Intends To Ban Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds And Drink Stirrers

Eric Gaillard/Reuters


Plastic straws, cotton buds, and drink stirrers are to be banned from sale and use in England from April 2020, the government has confirmed.


This move has been in the offing for more than a year, according to The Guardian. It is hoped to vastly lower the litter and other environmental impacts of the nearly 5bn plastic straws currently used every year in the United Kingdom, along with over 300m plastic stirrers and almost 2bn cotton buds with plastic stems.


Vast numbers of these items, especially cotton buds, are flushed down toilets or end up in litter – surveys have recently found waterways all over the United Kingdom teeming with plastic, putting wildlife at risk.


Alternatives are available, such as ding serving drinks without straws or stirrers or using paper straws and biodegradable products in place of plastic stirrers and cotton buds. The only exceptions to this new rule will be for people with medical needs or a disability, for whom plastic straws and other materials will be available upon request.


A government consultation found that over 80 percent of respondents supported a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws. Nine out of ten people wanted a ban on drink stirrers, and a similar number endorsed the prohibition of plastic-handled cotton buds.


Registered pharmacies will be permitted to sell plastic straws, over the counter or online, yet restaurants, pubs and other catering establishments won’t be allowed to display plastic straws or provide them automatically.


Campaigners welcomed the government’s move. However, the items to be banned were only part of the plastic problem, according to Emma Priestland, campaigner at Friends of the Earth. As she noted, “these three items are just a fraction of the single-use nasties that are used for a tiny amount of time before polluting the environment for centuries to come.”

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Thinking Humanity: England Intends To Ban Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds And Drink Stirrers
England Intends To Ban Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds And Drink Stirrers
Plastic straws, cotton buds, and drink stirrers are to be banned from sale and use in England from April 2020, the government has confirmed.
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