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UK delays ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds

Christian Fernsby |
A crackdown on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds in England that was due to come into force this month has been pushed back by the government in response to the huge challenges being faced by businesses as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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Topics: BAN    PLASTIC    UK   

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday confirmed it was postponing implementation of the ban, which is aimed at tackling waste and pollution caused by single-use plastics, by a further six months until October 2020.

"Given the huge challenges posed to businesses by coronavirus, we have confirmed we will delay the introduction of our ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds until October 2020," Defra said in a statement.

"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."

It is estimated around 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used in England every year. In addition to the waste mountain that is created, around 10 per cent of cotton buds are flushed down the toilet, posing a danger to marine wildlife in oceans and waterways.

The decision to postpone the ban was met with criticism from MPs and environmental campaigners.

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