April was the original deadline for new legislation, which stops the sale and distribution of single-use plastic items. But, coming in the middle of the COVID-19[feminine[feminine pandemic and given its impact on supply chains, the government has decided to postpone the ban until now.
As of today, it is illegal in almost all circumstances for companies to give them to customers with exemptions in place to protect people with disabilities and those with health conditions who need plastic straws.
Despite the delay, Environment Secretary George Eustice said Number 10 was “firmly committed to tackling” the issue of single-use plastics.
“Banning straws, agitators and cotton swabs is just the next step in our fight against plastic pollution and our commitment to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.
“We are already a world leader in this global effort. Our charge of five pence on single use plastic bags has managed to reduce its sales by 95% in major supermarkets, we have banned microbeads and are developing plans for a deposit return system to increase the recycling of single-use beverage containers. ”
Before the pandemic, Defra claims the UK was going through nearly five billion straws a year, 316 million plastic agitators and 1.8 billion cotton swabs.
While this is a step in the right direction, green activists like John Read, founder of Clean Up Britain, argue that it is the tip of the iceberg.
“I think the government deserves some credit for pushing people’s behavior in the right direction, but actually when you look at it it’s really more fragmentary and symbolic than anything else.
“We need to change people’s behavior in a lasting and permanent way, we need to see a national behavior change campaign and that’s what we don’t have in this country at the moment.
“People have to understand that when they throw away plastic straws, hamburger bags, crispy bags, it’s all their own pollution… so that people understand that they are causing damage to the environment.
Unfortunately, there is now a new villain in town: Disposable PPE.
Worn once, non-recyclable, single use by design.
Adam Grogan, RSPCA’s wildlife manager, says the charity is increasingly called upon to reach out to the animals that prey on it.
“We’re seeing an increase in the number of animals caught in things like masks… they have their legs or other parts of their body tangled in things like rubber bands that go over their ears.
“This single-use plastics bill should help us refocus on the fact that the pandemic has created another set of single-use items that we actually don’t need to use, especially us. can use reusable items most of the time. . “