The UK Government has announced the end to the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds to help meet 25 Year Environment Plan ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
This forms part of the wider government waste strategy – including the government’s current call for evidence on how we can use the tax system to address single use plastics waste.
Amid growing concerns about environmental impact several hospitality groups, outlets and chefs have announced their plans moving forward to cut down on plastic use:
- Chef Skye Gyngell is miminizing the use of cling-film and switching to a bio-degradable alternative
- JustEat is trialling edible seaweed-based sauce sachets
- Deliveroo has recently introduced a line of eco-packaging for its deliveries
- D&D London became one of the first restaurant groups to introduce a group-wide ban on plastic within their restaurants in January
- Chef Neil Rankin has started using straws made using corn starch opposed to plastic single-use straws
The announcement comes as the Prime Minister has urged all Commonwealth countries to sign-up to the newly-formed Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and take action, be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
£61.4m of funding has been commited by the UK government to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The UK government is a world leader on this issue, and the British public have shown passion and energy embracing our plastic bag charge and microbead ban, and today we have put forward ambitious plans to further reduce plastic waste from straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
“Alongside our domestic action, this week we are rallying Commonwealth countries to join us in the fight against marine plastics, with £61.4m funding for global research and to improve waste management in developing countries. Single-use plastics are a scourge on our seas and lethal to our precious environment and wildlife so it is vital we act now. We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on straws, stirrers and cotton buds to help protect our marine life. The Commonwealth is a unique organisation, with a huge diversity of wildlife, environments and coastlines. Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Single-use plastics are a scourge on our seas and lethal to our precious environment and wildlife so it is vital we act now. We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on straws, stirrers and cotton buds to help protect our marine life. We’ve already seen a number of retailers, bars and restaurants stepping up to the plate and cutting plastic use, however it’s only through government, businesses and the public working together that we will protect our environment for the next generation – we all have a role to play in turning the tide on plastic.”
Over 150m tonnes of plastic is believed to currently be in the world’s oceans and every year over 100,000 sea mammals and one million birds from getting tangled in or eating plastic waste.