The proposed plan laid out in October 2018, aims to remove the harmful plastic waste elements – potentially saving our wildlife and waterways.

The figures for use of these products annually in England alone is staggering. It is estimated we use:

  • 4.7 billion plastic straws
  • 316 million plastic stirrers
  • 1.8 billion plastic stemmed cotton buds

Of that 1.8 billion, it’s said that we flush 10% of cotton buds down toilets which ultimately end up in rivers and oceans. Although used for a few minutes, cotton buds, alongside plastic stirrers and straws can take hundreds of years to decompose.

Pile of discarded cotton buds on a beach

In order to eliminate these items from use, the Government intends to introduce a ban on their distribution and sale. The ban would, initially, come into force between October 2019 and October 2020, subject to the views collected during the consultation – which closed in December.

Launching the consultation, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“Our precious oceans and the wildlife within need urgent protection from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause.

I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers. But we recognise we need to do more. “

The announcement follows the success of the government’s world-leading ban on microbeads and 5p charge on single-use plastic bags, which has seen distribution by major supermarkets drop by 86%.

We, here at Plastic Generation aim to keep you up to date with all the developments of this ban.