UK Plastics Ban : Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds

On the day before World Turtle Day it is incredible to hear that the UK has announced a ban on the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. (Turtles instantly came to mind due to the sad story back in 2015 of the turtle with the straw stuck up his nostril- something you don’t easily forget).

Its great to finally have some positive action towards 3 ubiquitous single-use plastic items in use. The UK alone uses nearly 5 billion plastic straws, more than 300 million plastic stirrers and close to 2 billion cotton buds with plastic stems each year. Banning the sale of these items is a huge step in the right direction in making sure these items that are used for seconds but last for centuries stay out of our natural eco-systems.

From April 2020 (shame its not sooner but lets stay positive!) plastic straws, drink stirrers, and cotton buds with plastic stems will be banned from sale and use in England, with exceptions for medical needs. With great alternatives already available there’s no need for us to wait for the ban to take action sooner. While out and about refuse plastic single-use straws and stirrers, opting for no straw at all or if you like a straw we think its best to invest in your own reusable one that you can take out and about with you, rather than use other single-use options such as paper as this is still using up a precious resource for something that will only be used once. We have these great stainless steel straws available in the van, we think they can make great ad-hoc stirrers if need too! For cotton buds we stock The Humble Co Cotton Buds that are made with a biodegradable bamboo stick rather than plastic.

Having this ban in place should hopefully mean upsetting images and situations such as the poor turtle with a plastic straw stuck in his nostril and a seahorse clinging to a plastic cotton bud become images of the past. The UK government consultation found that more than 80% of respondents supported a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, while nine out of 10 people wanted a ban on drink stirrers, and a similar number supported a ban on plastic-handled cotton buds. Together we can change our plastic habits!

Read more about the ban at The Guardian

Info about the turtle image

Info about the seahorse image

More about World Turtle Day