Legislation to ban plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds put before Parliament


Plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will be banned under legislation that has now been presented to Parliament.

In England, it is estimated that 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are each year.


For people with medical conditions and disabilities, pharmacies will be able to sell plastic straws over the counter.

Catering establishments such as pubs and restaurants will not be able to display them or offer them out automatically, but will be able to provide them on request.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We must turn the tide on the widespread use of single-use plastics and the threat they pose to our natural environments.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow

“Our ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds is yet another measure to clamp down on unnecessary plastic so we can better protect our precious wildlife and leave our environment in a better state for future generations.

“This ban strikes the right balance, ensuring that we accommodate those with medical needs or disabilities while also protecting the environment.”

The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is one of a range of measures to eliminate avoidable plastic waste and is underpinned by the Resources and Waste Strategy.

A Statutory Instrument is being laid before Parliament on 3 March 2020 and will be called Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton buds and Stirrers)(England) Regulations 2020.

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