Legislation to ban plastic straws and stirrers enters parliament

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Unnecessary material: the plastic straw ban will be debated in parliament
Unnecessary material: the plastic straw ban will be debated in parliament

Related tags: Plastic straws

The law to rule out the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds was laid in parliament yesterday (3 March).

According to the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs, England uses 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m plastic stirrers and 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds a year.

Following a public consultation in autumn 2018, the Government confirmed in May last year that it would implement a ban, with exceptions to ensure those with medical needs or a disability are still able to access plastic straws.

In a bid to strike the right balance between reducing the environmental impact while protecting the rights of people with medical conditions and disabilities, registered pharmacies will be allowed to sell plastic straws over the counter or online.

Widespread use

Restaurants, pubs and bars will be able to provide them on request but won’t be able to display them, automatically hand them out or offer them.

The Government will carry out a stocktake after a year to assess the impact of these measures and whether the balance is right.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “We must turn the tide on the widespread use of single-use plastics and the threat they pose to our natural environments.

“Our ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds is yet another measure to clamp down on unnecessary plastic so we can better protect our precious wildlife and leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”

Right balance

She added: “This ban strikes the right balance, ensuring we accommodate those with medical needs or disabilities while also protecting the environment.”

Meanwhile in 2019, the British Beer & Pub Association surveyed its members (about 10,000 pubs) in its Brewing Green 2019 ​report, which discovered a third (32%) deemed removing plastic options as ‘very important’​ with 46% saying it was ‘important’.

It also revealed all had trained their staff on food wastage, 86% offer smaller portion sizes to reduce food waste, 83% had an insulated cellar and 71% had installed smart meters.

Related topics: Legislation

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