Well yesterday was a cause for celebration here at THE METAL STRAW CO. The government announced that plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds with plastic stems will be banned from sale and use in England from next April. The only exceptions to the new rule will be for people with a medical need or disability, for whom plastic straws and other materials will be available upon request. Registered pharmacies will be permitted to sell plastic straws, over the counter or online, but restaurants, pubs and other catering establishments will not be allowed to display plastic straws or provide them automatically.
The move, which has been in discussion for well over a year now, is hoped to vastly reduce the litter and other environmental impacts of the nearly 8bn plastic straws currently used each year in the UK, along with more than 300m plastic stirrers and close to 2bn cotton buds with plastic stems. That’s a lot of ‘small’ items. Whilst they may seem small their effects are devastating.
ITS NOT JUST MARINE LIFE IN DANGER BUT MANY BIRDS AND ANIMALS ARE UNDER INCREASING THREAT
Huge numbers of these items, particularly cotton buds, are flushed down toilets or otherwise end up in litter – surveys have recently confirmed waterways across the UK are overflowing with plastic, putting wildlife at risk. You only have to see some of the images on facebook to see the reality of this.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said: “Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution. These items are often used for just a few minutes, but take hundreds of years to break down.”
Whilst many are saying its just one small step, it is a step in the right direction and we firmly believe that momentum will now gather and great things will start to happen.
A great community to follow who are doing a fantastic job at raising awareness are ‘Surfers against Sewage.’ Their mission is to inspire, unite and empower communities to protect oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife from plastic pollution. Check them out and show them some love www.sas.org.uk/
As for whats next? Well we hope to next see a ban on unnecessary plastic packaging and a return & recycle system in place for plastic bottles. Lets see…..