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England to enforce plastic straw ban

·2-min read
Plastic straws will no longer be available in eateries in England. Credit: Getty.
Plastic straws will no longer be available in eateries in England. Credit: Getty.

The supply of plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers will be banned in England from Thursday 1 October.

The ban applies to all businesses supplying the products, including manufacturers and retailers.

It will also affect pubs, restaurants and cafes who will have to provide customers with sustainable alternatives.

The ban, originally planned for April this year, was delayed until 1 October due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses can be fined by their local authority if they do not stop selling or supplying these plastic items.

READ MORE: UK launches first zero-waste online grocery shopping service

However a grace period has been built into the legislation with leftover supplies bought before tomorrow, being allowed until 1 April 2021.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has also confirmed after 3 July 2021, businesses must not supply drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to the packaging.

A Defra spokesperson said: "We remain absolutely committed to turning the tide on the widespread use of single-use plastics and the threat they pose to our natural environment.

“This ban is yet another measure to clamp down on unnecessary plastic so we can better protect our precious wildlife and leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”

The Welsh government is currently considering a similar ban, whilst plastic cotton buds have been outlawed in Scotland since October 2019.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 10 million hand sanitiser bottles heading to landfill

In August, the UK government intensified its war on plastic after announcing it will extend the “hugely successful” charge on single-use carrier bags to all retailers from April 2021. The levy, which currently stands at 5p ($0.07) and applies to any retailer that employs 250 or more people, will be raised to 10p to encourage people to purchase greener bags.

Additionally, the government will also introduce a new tax on plastic packaging, which does not meet the current threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022 — to encourage greater use of recycled plastic and help tackle waste.

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