Plastic straws and drink stirrers, and cotton buds with plastic stems will be banned from sale and use in England from next April, the government has confirmed.
The move, which has been in the offing for more than a year, is hoped to vastly reduce the litter and other environmental impacts of the nearly 5bn plastic straws currently used each year in the UK, along with more than 300m plastic stirrers and close to 2bn cotton buds with plastic stems.
Huge numbers of these items, particularly cotton buds, are flushed down toilets or otherwise end up in litter – surveys have recently found waterways across the UK teeming with plastic, putting wildlife at risk.
Alternatives are available, including serving drinks without straws or stirrers, which is preferable, or using paper straws and biodegradable products in place of plastic stirrers and cotton buds.
The EU also wants to phase out plastics by 2021.
- Read the full article at The Guardian.