Plastic straws will be banned from sale and use in England from April 2020, confirmed the British government earlier this week.
The new legislation – which has been in the pipeline for some time now – has been created with the aim of reducing the littering and environmental impact of the nearly 5billion plastic straws currently used each year in the UK.
Plastic drinks stirrers (300million used in the UK) and plastic-stemmed cotton buds (2billion used in the UK) will also be banned under the new rules.
An increasing number of reusable straws in addition to paper straws are on offer thanks to the housewares industry. Recent introductions include Smidge’s stainless steel straws (from Horwood) and Hip’s new Clean Straws (silicone straws which can be unrolled for easy cleaning) distributed by Auteur (exhibiting at June’s Exclusively Housewares).
The EU is also moving to phase out plastics in various forms.
According to a government consultation, more than 80% of respondents support the ban on plastic straws, with around 90% backing a ban on drink stirrers and plastic-handled cotton buds.
Registered pharmacies will be the only premises permitted to sell plastic straws, either over the counter or online.
“Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution,” stated Michael Gove, the environment secretary. “These items are often used for just a few minutes, but take hundreds of years to break down.”