A ban that will stop businesses handing out plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers will come into force today, following a delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The ban was due to come into force in April, but due to the pandemic and given its impact on supply chains, the government decided to postpone the ban until now.

The only exemptions are disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws.

Environment Secretary George Eustace said:

“The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.

“We are already a world-leader in this global effort. Our five-pence charge on single use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets, we have banned microbeads, and we are building plans for a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers.”