UK government announces that it will introduce new controls on single-use plastic items from April 2020 in England. The measure covers plastic straws, plastic drinks-stirrers, and plastic cotton buds. This is to limit ocean and sea pollution following the raised public awareness of marine protection in the BBC production “Blue Planet” by acclaimed environmentalist Sir David Attenborough.
The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP said, “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.
• Only plastic drinks stirrers will be totally banned from sale – currently 316 million are used a year.
• Restrictions will be placed on plastic straws as groups which represent disabled people have stated that straws are essential drinking aides for the less abled
• Shops will not be allowed to sell the straws but they will on sale by registered pharmacies in stores and online.
• The government estimates that England’s annual use of straws totally 4.7bn will fall to 44 million when the new restrictions are introduced.
• Plastic-stemmed cotton buds, although restricted from general sale to the public, will still be available. Medical and scientific laboratories will be able to buy them for use in research and for forensic tasks in criminal investigations.
• Defra reckons 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used and thrown away every year in England.
We are delighted with this new announcement at Bags of EthicsTM and encourage everyone to make single-use swaps right from plastic cutlery, cups, glasses and bags to using more reusable alternatives. Simple swaps as part of your daily habits can aggregate to great societal change leading to a positive effect on marine life, wildlife in our countryside, and the cleanliness of our beaches and oceans. The effect of the 5p plastic bag charge by the UK government has had a dramatic effect and will now move to 10p for every single-use plastic bag used in stores.
For more tips and tricks on how to make single-use swaps from reusable bags and which fabrics are the right one for you follow our blog and Instagram for more how-to tips.
Sources: BBC News and Surfers Against Sewage.