Pubs 'should charge 5p for straws'

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Make a change: a petition has been set up demanding people are charged 5p per plastic straw
Make a change: a petition has been set up demanding people are charged 5p per plastic straw

Related tags: Plastic straws, Public house

A petition that has received almost 10,000 signatures wants the Government to introduce a 5p charge for plastic straws, similar to plastic carrier bags in shops, in the hope it would "force servers to only provide straws upon request and dramatically reduce waste".

The petition,​ set up by campaign group FinalStraw, calls for the 5p charge on all single-use plastic straws and claims that this could dramatically reduce their use.

The petition states: "Over 550m plastic straws are used every day in the US & UK. Most plastic straws are not recycled. Plastic waste poses an enormous threat to wildlife, is a danger to human health and costs millions of pounds to the UK economy. A 5p charge on single-use plastic straws will reduce our plastic waste.

"Almost every piece of plastic ever produced still exists today. Most single-use plastic straws are discarded, often winding up in landfill, or contributing to the 8m tons of plastic entering the sea every year. 

"Following the introduction of the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags in England, usage fell by 85% in just six months. We can achieve the same with plastic straws."

Making change

The group added on Facebook: "Similar to the bag charge, it would force servers to only provide straws upon request and dramatically reduce use.

"The money from the charge could raise vital funds for charities and beach clean-up events. While we'd love to see an outright ban, this legislation is the first step to achieving that goal and making change happen quickly."

However, industry leaders have questioned whether the potential tax would be another negative for pubs, in addition to current stresses that include increasing business rates and Brexit. 

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "We are in favour of action that helps change customer preferences away from plastic straws towards environmentally friendly alternatives and that will have to be driven, in part, by the sector.

"But an additional tax is another burden for businesses, and consumers and may not have a positive enough effect."

Over burdensome

British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) chief executive Mike Clist said: "The BII fully supports the sentiment behind this petition but believes that to administer a tax on straws would be over burdensome on an industry that is already highly regulated.

"The BII together with the ALMR, British Beer & Pub Association and The Morning Advertiser​ has a campaign aimed at persuading customers to only ask for a straw when really necessary and for outlets to switch to biodegradable alternatives.

"The support the campaign is receiving has been tremendous and we are determined, as an industry, to continue to not only work on reducing straws but the use of all plastics.”

Oakman Inns cheif executive Peter-Borg Neal added: "With respect to the petition I am never going to vote for anything that might introduce another avenue for taxation into our already horrendously over-taxed sector.

"In any case it would be difficult to police and is certainly not an alternative to recyclable straws as they are less than a penny each.

"I think the current movement to voluntarily remove straws should be effective. Perhaps, the next stage will be to name and shame businesses who continue to use them." 

The petition comes weeks after The Morning Advertiser​'s joint campaign urging all pubs to stop using plastic straws​ and stirrers to protect the environment and at the same time as Michael Gove hinting that plastic straws could be banned entirely after Brexit, according to The Telegraph​.

To find out how pubs can take advantage of biodegrade straws click here​, or to find out about other alternatives on the market, visit here.

Pub companies that have taken action to reduce plastic straw use:​

  • JD Wetherspoon
  • Liberation Group
  • Oakman Inns
  • All Bar One
  • Laine Pub Co
  • Redcomb Pubs
  • Be At One
  • Ei Group

Related topics: Legislation

Related news

Show more