Maria Caulfield MP welcomes plastic straw ban

Maria Caulfield MP has welcomed the ban on supplying plastic straws and stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds which has come into force in England today (Thursday 1 October), marking yet another major step in the Government’s fight against single-use plastic waste to protect our environment and clean up our oceans.

It is estimated that we use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds in England every year, many of which find their way into our ocean. By banning the supply of these items, we can further protect our precious marine wildlife and move one step closer to our ambition of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste as set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan.

From today, it is illegal for businesses to supply plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds to customers. There are exemptions in place to protect disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws, and to allow cotton-buds to continue to be used for forensic and scientific purposes. Businesses will also have time to adapt to these changes, and may continue to supply stock acquired before 1 October for six months.

Maria Caulfield MP said “I’m delighted that the government is taking another step forward in fight against single-use plastics, I know that many of my constituents share my passion about protecting our environment and this builds on the governments key actions on plastics include a world-leading ban on microbeads, consulting on introducing a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers, and committing to a ban on the export of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries.”

“I also welcome the government’s commitment to introduce a new world-leading tax on plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022 to encourage greater use of recycled plastic.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said “Single-use plastics cause real devastation to the environment and this government is firmly committed to tackling this issue head on.”

“We are already a world-leader in this global effort. Our 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets, we have banned microbeads, and we are building plans for a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers.”

“The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.”