Plastic straws and stirrers could be banned as early as October 2019

23 October 2018 by
Plastic straws and stirrers could be banned as early as October 2019

Plastic straws and stirrers could be banned as early as October 2019 according to environment secretary Michael Gove.

The minister has launched a consultation into the banning of the straws, stirrers and plastic cotton-buds with the aim of implementing it between October 2019 and October 2020.

The consultation will seek views on how it can be ensured that those who need plastic straws for medical or accessibility reasons can access them - including allowing restaurants and bars to provide them on request.

The UK currently uses 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion cotton buds each year. The hospitality industry has already taken action to turn off the tap with many companies banishing plastic straws from their sites.

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.

"I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers. But we recognise we need to do more. Today we step-up our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it."

Kate Nicholls CEO of UKHospitality said: "We wholeheartedly welcome this consultation on an issue of vital importance and one which hospitality has already taken significant action.

"Since UKHospitality's Unpack the Future of Hospitality summit in the spring, thousands of pubs clubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK have changed their straws and stirrers to biodegradables, or adopted policies that cut or eliminate their use in their venues."

UK government has committed a £61m package of funding to block plastic waste from entering the oceans.

Test the waters: how to cut your use of single-use plastic>>

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