In great news for the environment, the UK government has announced that plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will be banned in the UK from today.
The ban, which was originally due to start in April, will make it illegal for restaurants and coffee shops across the country to hand out any plastic straws or stirrers with drinks. Instead, they will have to opt for biodegradable paper alternatives.
Shops and supermarkets will also be banned from selling straws. Plastic-stemmed cotton buds will be restricted from general sale, but will still be available to those who need them for medical purposes.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government was "firmly committed" to "tackling environmental devastation" caused by single-use plastics. He said: "The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.
"We are already a world-leader in this global effort. Our five-pence charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets, we have banned microbeads, and we are building plans for a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers," reports Sky News.
While it's a great step in the right direction John Read, founder of Clean Up Britain, explained we need to see a change in people's behaviour.
"I think the government do deserve some credit for nudging people's behaviour in the right direction but actually when you look at it, it's really more piecemeal and symbolic than anything else. We need to change people's behaviour in a sustainable and permanent way, we need to see a national behavioural change campaign and that's what we haven't got in this country at the moment.
"People have got to understand that when they throw away plastic straws, hamburger packets, crisp packets, it's all their own personal pollution… so people understand that they're doing the damage to the environment."
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