Plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will effectively be banned from next April after the public backed the plans in their droves.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove will make the announcement today, in a major victory for the Mail’s Turn the Tide on Plastic Campaign.
A public consultation revealed overwhelming support for the reduction of plastic. More than 80 per cent backed the ban on straws, 90 per cent on drinks stirrers and 89 per cent on plastic cotton buds.
Exemptions will allow those who need to use plastic straws for medical reasons to buy them from registered pharmacies.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove will make the announcement today that will see plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will effectively be banned from next April
They will also be able to request plastic straws in restaurants, pubs and bars – but firms will be banned from displaying them, or giving them to most customers. Cotton buds may be used for scientific purposes, covering medical use or research, and in forensic criminal investigations.
It is estimated that more than 4.7billion straws are used in England every year, as well as 316million plastic stirrers and 1.8billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds. Around one in ten cotton buds are flushed down the toilet.
Mr Gove said last night: ‘The Daily Mail has been a trailblazer in the campaign against unnecessary plastic – from calling for a ban on microbeads to its Turn the Tide On Plastic campaign.
‘We have listened and taken action. We have introduced one of the world’s strongest bans on microbeads and the 5p plastic bag charge has already removed over 15billion bags from circulation.
‘But we still have further to go to turn the tide on plastic pollution. So today I am taking action on the items which are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our oceans and harming precious marine life. I want to thank the Daily Mail and its readers for tirelessly campaigning on this issue. Together, we can leave our environment in a better state for future generations.’
A public consultation revealed overwhelming support for the reduction of plastic straws (file photo)
Environmental groups welcomed the ban – which will come into force before similar EU legislation in 2021.
Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, said: ‘It’s a really positive and bold step in the right direction in the battle against plastic pollution.’
Laura Foster of the Marine Conservation Society added: ‘We are delighted with this decision, which will help consumers move to a more plastic-free lifestyle.’ She said an average of 17 cotton buds were found for every 100m of beach in England during her organisation’s Great British Beach Clean last year.
Greenpeace’s Sam Chetan-Welsh said: ‘It’s been a long time coming, but we welcome the news.’ However, he warned the proposals ‘only scratch the surface’, adding: ‘To really tackle the plastic crisis we need bigger, bolder action from this government – including targets to radically reduce the production of single-use plastics and an all-inclusive deposit return scheme for drinks containers.’