We’re all aware that we need to be using plastic more responsibly. From avoiding takeaway coffee cups to shopping as plastic-free as possible in the supermarket, more and more people are making small, sustainable changes in order to cut down on unnecessary waste – and the government is doing the same.
Most recently, BBC News reports that ministers are considering a proposal that would ban plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds, to help tackle what Theresa May called ‘one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world.’
Speaking during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, the Prime Minister said: ‘The UK Government is a world leader on this issue, and the British public have shown passion and energy embracing our plastic bag charge and microbeads ban, and today we have put forward ambitious plans to further reduce plastic waste from straws, stirrers and cotton buds.’
Urging members of the Commonwealth to join her in the mission, she added: ‘The Commonwealth is a unique organisation, with a huge diversity of wildlife, environments and coastlines. Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.’
Consultation on the ban will take place later this year. If it goes ahead, the products will be withdrawn from sale, with officials teaming up with industry experts to create alternatives.
An estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away – a number which contributes to the 150 million tonnes of plastic currently in the oceans. Some major chains have already taken steps to remove them from their premises, with high-street stores McDonalds, Pizza Express, Wagamama and Pret a Manger all pledging to replace their straws with biodegradable options this year.
The progress follows the success of the 5p plastic bag charge, which led to a significant fall in use, and the banning plastic microbeads, whihc was enforced in January.