Plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds have been officially ban in England since the start of oct 1st, 2020. Business will no longer be able to supply these products, marking a positive step in our battle against plastic pollution.
The law, originally due to start in April but delayed due to the covid-19 event, makes it illegal for businesses to sell or supply the items. An exemption will allow hospitals, bars and restaurants to provide plastic straws to people with disabilities or medical conditions that require them.
Plastic straws can be necessary for disabled individuals but for the majority of us reusable straws made of materials like bamboo or metal can help prevent more than 400,000 single-use plastic straws from winding up in our waterways and littering the coastlines.
We welcome the ban but its clear that a greater crackdown on single-use items is needed. The ban on straws was a no-brainer considering how many simple alternatives are available, the main problem is that these items are only a small fraction of the total plastic waste littering the environment.
People in England use an estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds each year. It is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean globally every year, which has injured and killed countless marine creatures.
It is clear to all that plastic must be replaced with alternative products at every available opportunity. Simply say no to plastic.
This most recent step is part of a greater strategy working towards making all plastic packaging on the market recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042 and having zero avoidable waste by 2050. How likely these targets are, you decide.