THE UK Government has postponed the ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds to October because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ban was originally due to come into force this month after secondary legislation was laid in Parliament in March.
A DEFRA spokesperson stressed that the delay has not been due to lobbying from the plastic sector but ministers have decided to delay the ban to avoid additional burdens for firms during the pandemic.
A Defra spokesperson commented on the announcement: “Given the huge challenges posed to businesses by coronavirus, we have confirmed we will delay the introduction of our ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds until October 2020.
“We remain absolutely committed to turning the tide on the widespread use of single-use plastics and the threat they pose to our natural environment.
“This ban 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.”
Many of the businesses which would be affected by the ban, such as pubs, restaurants and cafes, are currently closed because of social distancing rules.
Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, Philip Dunne MP, commented on the announcement: “It is very disappointing that the Government has delayed the ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
“These items when made from plastic are virtually impossible to recycle, so they end up in landfill or are dumped, jeopardising the environment and wildlife both on land and when they reach the sea.
“The UK is a world-leader in environmental protection.
“While it is completely understood that the response to coronavirus should dominate Government resources currently, it is crucial that the pandemic does not threaten progress being made with relatively straightforward steps to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”