Straws and stirrers to be banned in England

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The ban won't take effect immediately; the statement said the government would work with industries to ensure time to adapt and create alternatives.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of Britain's Green Party, said the government consultation on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds was "another step forward but progress is painfully slow".

Plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton swabs could be banned in England under plans proposed by the United Kingdom government to reduce plastic waste and protect the world's oceans.

Plastic has become a regular sight on beaches and in the oceans.

Theresa May announced a consultation aimed at cracking down on plastic waste
Theresa May announced a consultation aimed at cracking down on plastic waste

The UK government is committing to £61.4 million, around $87.4 million, in funding for research and better waste management for developing countries, according to May, who said, "The Commonwealth is a unique organization, with a huge diversity of wildlife, environments, and coastlines".

"However it's only through government, businesses and the public working together that we will protect our environment for the next generation".

The ban is aimed at reducing the impact of pollution on rivers and oceans, as around 8.5bn plastic straws are thrown away in the United Kingdom each year.

Mr Gove's consultation into the proposed ban will begin later this year.

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The announcement comes hot on the heels of last month's pledge to introduce a deposit return scheme, or DRS, for single use drinks containers, including bottles and cans; and a call for evidence on how charges and changes to the tax system could be used to reduce single use plastic waste.

The move is aimed at protecting rivers and oceans from the growing problem of plastic pollution.

Straws and stirrers are consistently some of the most collected items during the Marine Conservation Society (MSC) annual Great British Beach Cleans, and in 2017 teams found on average 26.9 cotton buds per 100 metres of beach front.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the plans but urged the Government to go further in banning all but the most essential disposable plastics.

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"Greenpeace is encouraging retailers to take responsibility for their products, eliminate problem plastics immediately and to phase out single-use plastic in their own brand products".

"With the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in less than 12 months, there is a worrying lack of preparation to reassure the public that environmental standards won't suffer".

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