01 October 2020 08:50
THE BIGGEST STORIES ACROSS BRISTOL IN YOUR INBOX SIGN UP Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email The delayed ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England comes into force today (Thursday) as part of efforts to tackle single-use plastic pollution. It will now be illegal for businesses to supply plastic straws, drinks stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds to customers. But exemptions will be in place to protect disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws. The Government said it was the latest step in the fight against single-use plastic waste to protect the environment and oceans. An estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds were used in England each year, officials said.
The ban on the plastic products had been due to come in in April but was delayed until October due to the challenges coronavirus posed to businesses. Campaigners welcomed the move but said the items formed only a "fraction" of the plastic waste littering the environment. Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Sion Elis Williams said: "The Government must get tougher on plastic with short and longer-term targets that are legally binding in its Environment Bill, currently passing through Parliament. "Ministers must also do more to challenge our throwaway culture by forcing a shift away from all single-use materials in favour of reusable alternatives." Tatiana Lujan, plastics lawyer at environmental law charity ClientEarth, said: "Other countries like Ireland and France have shown far more ambition than the UK, with targets on reusable packaging and deposit return schemes."