Government to ban plastic straws and drinks stirrers in 2020

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Government to ban plastic straws and drinks stirrers in 2020

Related tags: Environmentalism, Plastic, Restaurant, Alcoholic beverage, Bar

Plastic straws and drinks stirrers are to be banned in England from April 2020, the government has announced.

Restaurants, pubs and bars will be barred from displaying straws or automatically handing them out, but will be able to provide them on request.

This is to ensure those with medical needs or a disability can still access straws, which will be available in registered pharmacies.

The ban, which includes plastic stemmed cotton buds, follows growing public concern​ about the environmental impact of the 4.7bn plastic straws and 318m plastic stirrers used in England annually.

Over the past year chefs including Neil Rankin and Skye Gyngell and hospitality groups such as D&D London and McDonald’s have announced their intention to cut down on plastic use.​ Rankin has replaced plastic straws with a variety made from corn starch, while Gyngell has swapped cling film for a bio-degradable alternative.

“We are pleased that the government has recognised the genuine need of some of our customers...by allowing straws for customers upon request, which is a practice that the sector was rapidly implementing or moving towards,” says Kate Nicholls, CEO of trade body UKHospitality.

“The hospitality sector has voluntarily made significant progress in reducing the availability and use of plastic straws and stirrers, motivated both by a moral duty and our customers’ environmental concerns.”

The government will carry out a stocktake on the ban after one year to assess its impact.

Related topics: Legislation

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