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Plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers to be banned in UK

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Plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers to be banned in UK

Plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers to be banned in UK

LONDON — Plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds with plastic stems will be banned from sale and use in England from next April, the government has confirmed.

According to the Guardian, the move looks to reduce plastics pollution and other environmental impacts of the almost 5 billion plastic straws tossed each year in the UK, in addition to 300 million plastic stirrers and only around 2 billion cotton buds with plastic stems. The Guardian reports that alternatives are already in place including paper straws and biodegradable products instead of plastic stirrers and cotton buds.

According to the Guardian, the only exceptions to the new rule will be for people with medical needs or disabilities, for whom plastic straws and other materials will be available upon request.

Registered pharmacies will be permitted to sell plastic straws, over the counter and online.

According to the BBC, bars and restaurants will not be allowed to display plastic straws or automatically hand them out, but will provide them if people ask.

The BBC reports that medical and scientific laboratories will still be able to buy plastic-stemmed cotton buds for use in research and for criminal investigation forensics.

Is the ban going too far?

Or not far enough?

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