The UK government has outlined plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds as part of a drive to reduce plastic waste pollution.
Environment secretary Michael Gove announced 19 April that a consultation would launch later this year on the project, and that the government would work with industry “to develop alternatives and ensure there is sufficient time to adapt.”
According to the UK department for environment, food & rural affairs (DEFRA) a recent study has shown that 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year in the UK.
The announcement comes as the prime minister Theresa May launched the newly-formed Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, which will aim to reduce marine litter and plastic waste pollution.
The ban on plastic straws is the latest move in the government crackdown on plastic, following the plastic microbeads which came into effect in January and the 5p plastic bag charge – which has led to 9 billion fewer bags distributed.
The country also launched a consultation last month with regards to introducing a deposit return scheme for single use drinks containers.
Commenting on the announcement, David Palmer-Jones, CEO of Suez Recycling and Recovery UK voiced support for the decision, saying its showed “strong leadership”.
“The proposed ban… shows strong leadership and rightly continues to place the environment at the top of the agenda for businesses and consumers,” he noted.
“We welcome Michael Gove's acknowledgment that targeting Britain's prevailing culture of on-the-go consumption, particularly of plastic bottles, is key to both reducing waste and tackling our litter problems,” he added.