Breaking! England Bans Plastic Straws And Other Plastic Items In An Effort To Protect Our Planet From Plastic Pollution
Last week, England’s ban on supplying plastic straws, stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds came into effect, marking yet another major step in the Government’s fight against single-use plastic waste to protect the environment and clean up our oceans.
“Single-use plastics cause real devastation to the environment and this government is firmly committed to tackling this issue head on,” Environment Secretary George Eustice said in a statement, further explaining that England’s 5 pound charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in their main supermarkets. Last month, ministers also confirmed that the single-use plastic bag charge would be increased to 10 pounds and extended to all retailers beginning on April 1, 2021.
“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,” continued Eustice. There are exceptions put in place for people with disabilities and those with medical conditions.
It is estimated that 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used in England every year, many of which find their way into our oceans. By banning the supply of these items, marine life will have increased protection and the country moves one step closer to its ambition of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste, as set out in its 25 Year Environment Plan.
Globally, it is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year resulting in the injury and death of many species of marine life. The UK is leading on a wide program of overseas engagements, including through the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance and the Commonwealth Litter Programme, aiming to prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean in the first place.
The government is also committed to launching a £500 million Blue Planet Fund to protect the ocean from plastic pollution, warming sea temperatures, and overfishing.
Other key government actions on plastics include a world-leading ban on microbeads, consulting on introducing a deposit return plan to drive up the recycling of single-use drink containers, and committing to a ban on the export of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries.
The government will also introduce a new tax on plastic packaging to encourage greater use of recycled plastic.
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