From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

Ban on some single-use plastics in England

In a bid to limit the amount of plastic pollution, the UK government is introducing new controls on single-use plastic items from 2020.

Plastic straws. © Kyryl Gorlov
Published: June 10, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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The new laws will come into effect in April 2020 and cover the use of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds in England.


“UK consumers use more single-use drinks cups, straws, food containers, crisp packets and wet wipes per person than almost any other country,” says WWF’s head of climate change, Gareth Redmond-King.

“This announcement is a welcome first step, but we need to see the Government really ramp up their commitments on reducing plastic waste.”

“Plastic is suffocating our oceans and overwhelming our wildlife. We must act now – banning all avoidable single-use plastic by 2025 – and introducing incentives to help people and businesses make the right choices to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Currently 316 million plastic stirrers are used annually, but these will be completely outlawed. Straws and cotton buds, on the other hand, will have restrictions put on their sale.

Plastic straws will not be on sale in supermarkets, however, people will still be able to buy them from registered pharmacies and online. This is because disabled groups have highlighted their importance in the everyday lives of many disabled people.

Cotton buds will be banned from sale to the general public, but will be available for medical and scientific laboratories, as well as for forensic work.

Back in March, the European parliament voted to ban a longer list of single-use plastic items by 2021.

Environmental groups have praised the move, but also say that the Government still needs to do much more.


Main image: Plastic straws. © Kyryl Gorlov



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