Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has backed planned announced by the Government to ban the sale of plastic drink straws, stirrers and cotton buds in April 2020, a year ahead of the planned EU wide ban.
A recent Government consultation revealed that over 80% of respondents back a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, 90% a ban on drinks stirrers, and 89% a ban on cotton buds.
Catering establishments such as restaurants, pubs and bars will not be able to display plastic straws or automatically hand them out, but they will be able to provide them on request. The government believes this strikes the right balance between reducing environmental impact while protecting the rights of people with medical conditions and disabilities, who may need a plastic straw. The government will carry out a stocktake after one year to assess the impact of these measures and whether the balance is correct.
In England, it is estimated that annually we use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds. An estimated 10% of cotton buds are flushed down toilets and can end up in waterways and oceans.
Even though non-plastic alternatives are readily available, it is estimated that 95% of straws are still plastic. Cleaning up the effects of littering costs local government millions of pounds every year, with costs also imposed on the tourism and fishing industries, and the effect of plastic pollution worrying 89% of people.
Maria Caulfield MP said “Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life. I am pleased that this Conservative Government is taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”