The United Kingdom has outlined plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs as part of a drive to reduce plastics pollution.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced April 19 that a study will 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 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 United Kingdom.
The announcement comes as 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 plastics, following a ban on plastic microbeads in soaps, toothpaste and similar products, which came into effect in January and 5-pence plastic bag charge – which has led to 9 billion fewer bags distributed.
The country also launched a study last month with regards to introducing a deposit program for single use drink 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.