The UK Plastic Straw Ban

Victory for campaigners as partial ban announced on plastics
Plastic straw availability restricted

In what is a start, but by no means the end of the fight against single-use plastics, the government have confirmed that from April 2020 plastic straws, drink stirrers, and cotton buds will be banned from sale and use in England.

According to the Government’s own statistics, each year England discards 8.5 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds, largely ending up in our waterways and oceans. Environment secretary Michael Gove made the announcement after a consultation with the public revealed “overwhelming” support for the ban. People with a medical need for plastic straws will be given an exemption (via their local chemists), but pubs, restaurants and other catering outlets will no longer be permitted to sell or offer plastic straws or drink stirrers to their customers.

Plastic takes up to 500 years to decompose, meaning every plastic straw, drink stirrer, or cotton bud you’ve ever used or flushed down your toilet is still out there in the environment, in landfill or our oceans; devastating wildlife and putting human health at risk. By 2050 it’s estimated there will be more plastic in the sea, by volume, than fish.

We’ve been big supporters of the campaign to bring an end to the plastic straw, working in conjunction with #nosuckingplastic, an organisation that has done great work to bring about the end of plastic straw use in the catering industry. The ban is a step in the right direction, but at Ecotaste we know the announced measure barely scratches the surface of the damage being caused to the environment by single use plastics. We also know that once the ban comes into effect the market is likely to be flooded with inferior quality, potentially toxic paper straws, from countries with lower food hygiene standards. Which is why customers must ask for paper drinking straws such as Ecotaste straws or a comparable brand that is biodegradable, FDA approved, 100% non-toxic, and won’t go soggy in your drink.