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UK government to ban plastic straws

The UK government has announced it is to ban single use plastics in England from April 2020.

Plastic straws and drink stirrers will be outlawed as a result of the ban, with 316 million plastic straws currently used every year. The government says the new legislation will include “a ban on the supply of plastic straws”, as it aims to restrict their availabilities.

Retailers will be given a total ban on straws, while restaurants and bars will not be allowed to display them, however they will be able to hand them out if asked. Pharmacies and selected online retailers will be allowed to stock the straws after disabled groups argued they were essential for everyday life.

Environmental groups have argued that the bans do not go far enough, with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), saying that single-use items should be banned altogether, whilst warning that replacements made from alternative materials may still be harmful.

A spokesperson for environment ministry Defra, said: “Anyone can ask for a straw and be given one without needing to prove a disability, we’ve been working with disabled groups so that they don’t feel stigmatised.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “We fully support the Government’s objective to drastically reduce unnecessary single-use plastic. We are pleased that the Government has recognised the genuine need of some of our customers, with today’s announcement exempting hospitality venues, by allowing straws for customers upon request, which is a practice that the sector was rapidly implementing or moving towards.

“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.”

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