The EU has now also laid out plans to dramatically lessen plastic household items by 2021
Plastic straws, cotton buds, and stirrers could soon be prohibited from the distribution and sale in England which would come into force at some point between October 2019 and October 2020.
But what does it mean for you? And how people deal with this problem ?…
In England alone, it is estimated that people use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds each year – many of which end up in rivers and oceans.
These single-use plastic items are used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down. Settling the impacts of littering costs Government millions of pounds every year.
The UK consumes approximately 8.5 billion plastic straws per year. This equates to an average citizen using 130 straws per year, and compared to other European countries, this figure is remarkably high.
The Government also recognize that using plastic straws is necessary for medical reasons and our pharmacies will still be able to sell plastic straws while restaurants, pubs, and bars will be able to stock some straws for use on request. They will work closely with stakeholders to ensure these exemptions are crafted exactly right.
With the aim of eliminating plastic from life, Theresa May is to reveal a sweeping ban on a number of plastic products.
She also urged Commonwealth leaders gathered in London to sign up to the newly formed Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance. The British government has committed £61.4m to the initiative to develop new methods for preventing and cleaning up plastic waste.
It means single-use plastics – like straws – could no longer be available in pubs and restaurants.
Downing Street has also proposed excluding plastic straws used for medical purposes from the ban, but insisted it would give the plastic manufacturing industries time to develop non-plastic alternatives like wood or paper.
The move follows new rules introduced two years ago forcing thousands of small retailers in England to charge 5p for plastic bags, which dramatically reduced the number of bags being used.
Theresa May considered plastic waste as “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world” and the UK was taking a lead in tackling the problem.
She said: “Protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The UK government is a world leader on this issue, and today we have put forward ambitious plans to further reduce plastic waste from straws, stirrers and cotton buds.” “Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.”
Launching the consultation, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Our precious oceans and the wildlife within need urgent protection from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause”. He added: “I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers. But we recognize we need to do more. Today we step-up our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”
Every year, it is estimated that Europeans generate 25m tonnes of plastic waste, but less than 30% is recycled. In addition, more than 80% of marine litter is plastic.
The European Parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers as part of a sweeping law against plastic waste that contaminates beaches and pollutes oceans.
The vote by MEPs initiates a ban on single-use plastics to come into effect by 2021 in all EU member states.
EU member states will have to launch measures to decrease the use of plastic food containers and plastic lids for hot drinks. By 2025, plastic bottles should be made of 25% recycled content, and by 2029 90% of them should be recycled.
The European Commission’s proposed ban will cover ten products that along with discarded plastic fishing gear account for 70 percent of all marine litter.
The initiative, announced on May 28, 2018, will ban items the commission believes could be replaced with sustainable materials.
Two major contributors of plastic straws are McDonald’s and Starbucks.
McDonald’s distributes 1.8 million straws per day to the citizens in the UK. In order to tackle the plastic straw issue, McDonald’s is experimenting with paper straws.
Starbucks plans on ditching straws and replacing them with plastic lids called sippy cups. Unfortunately, one of these lids is made of even more polypropylene than a normal plastic straw. The reason for this decision is that straws do not always reach the recycling process due to their small size and lightweight. However, Starbucks believes that plastic lids will have less trouble reaching the recycling process.
In Sa Dec (Dong Thap, Vietnam) has a village of over 100 years old with a rich source of rice flour, which is grown by the alluvium of the Mekong Delta, Sa Dec farmers have invented a type of ”edible straws” made from rice flour called Rice Straws. Due to natural material, these straws can be eaten. In particular, these straws are dyed from completely natural materials such as spinach leaves, batata, black sesame … In cold drinks, rice straws can be used for 4-10 hours, and for hot drinks, they can last 2-3 hours. This type of straws is made from a combination of rice flour and wheat flour. Now instead of throwing, you can literally “eat straws”.
Vinastraws are proud of a Vietnamese leading rice straw supplier and manufacturer. We are a prestige and quality company for domestic and international markets. With efforts in operating, production and business activities, we always towards customer satisfaction. Vinastraws committed to giving you the best experience with good products in terms of quality and environmental protection.
While plastic has a place in our society, and can be a very useful and sustainable method of preserving our planet, for example through using alternatives to plastic straws we still have a long way to go in reducing our single-use plastic consumption.
Even though the banning of plastic straws is a step in the right direction, there is still more to do.