The government have proposed a ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds in England, and there is a consultation to discuss the possible ban. Theresa May will urge leaders around the Commonwealth to follow the UK in tackling the problem of plastic waste at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which begins later today.

In the UK alone, 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year and the Prime Minister said that plastic waste is “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world.” May said that the UK is a ‘world leader’ in tackling the problem of plastic waste with the 5p plastic bag charge, banning microbeads and the opening of a consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks bottle in England.

Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK said: “With a truckload more plastic entering our oceans every minute, we can’t afford for the government to get bogged down in unnecessarily protracted processes. We need a deposit return scheme for drinks containers without delay, and there’s no reason why he legislation needs to take two years.

“This lack of urgency isn’t restricted to tackling plastic waste. Waiting until after march 2019 for a new environment act, and for the proper protections and targets for nature, clean air and clean water, could provide loopholes for polluters and waste time the environment doesn’t have.”

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