Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers, and plastic stemmed cotton buds in England, following overwhelming public support for the move.
Following an open consultation, a ban on the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds will come into force in April 2020. The ban will include exemptions to ensure that those with medical needs or a disability are able to continue to access plastic straws. An exemption will also be in place to allow the use of plastic-stemmed cotton buds for medical and scientific purposes, where these are often the only practical option.
In England, it is estimated that annually we use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds. An estimated 10% of cotton buds are flushed down toilets and can end up in waterways and oceans.
The government has recently announced a range of measures to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste underpinned by its recently published landmark Resources and Waste Strategy. Other recent key government actions include a world-leading ban on microbeads, taking over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5p plastic bag charge and plans to extend it to all retailers, and consulting on introducing a deposit return scheme to drive-up the recycling of drinks bottles and cans. Earlier this year, the government launched a consultation on a world-leading tax on plastic packaging which does not contain a minimum of 30% recycled content from April 2022.
Caroline this year, for the second year running, gave up using single-use plastic for Lent as part of her Plastic Pledge.
Commenting, Caroline said:
“It is fantastic news that the Government is planning to ban plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic stemmed cotton buds that blight our beaches! During my #PlasticPledge for Lent, I realised how easy it is to say no to these products and use alternatives, I would encourage their use wherever possible.
“Since my Plastic Pledge I have really noticed how you can make daily changes that make can make a significant difference. Every beach clean I’ve taken part in is notable for the number of cotton buds on our shores - slipping through the sewage system and blighting our oceans.
“Whilst the Government is taking concerted action to reduce plastic consumption and waste, we can all take action now to help protect our environment for the future.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life. So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”
Hugo Tagholm, CEO, Surfers Against Sewage said:
“Surfers Against Sewage welcome the ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. Stopping the production and distribution of these single-use plastic menaces will prevent them from polluting beaches nationwide. It’s a really positive and bold step in the right direction in the battle against plastic pollution. It is also helps further drive plastic-free options and alternatives for the public so they can truly make more sustainable choices in their daily lives.”