The UK Government has announced its plan to ban the distribution and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and other associated products.

The government intends to impose the ban between October 2019 and October 2020, subject to the views collected during consultation launched by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

According to the government, around 4.7 billion plastic straws and 316 million plastic stirrers are being used in the UK, which costs local government’s millions of pounds every year to clean up.

Gove said: “In England, we are taking world-leading action with our ban on microbeads, and thanks to the public’s support have taken over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5p charge.

“I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers. But we recognise 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.

“According to the government, around 4.7 billion plastic straws and 316 million plastic stirrers are being used in the UK.”

“The announcement follows the success of the government’s world-leading ban on microbeads and 5p charge on single-use plastic bags, which has seen distribution by major supermarkets drop by 86%.”

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However, the government intends to allow pharmacies to sell plastic straws for medical reasons, while restaurants, pubs and bars will be able to stock some straws for use on request.

The government plans to work collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure these exemptions are crafted exactly right.

A £61.4m funding has been committed to boost global research and assist countries across the Commonwealth in stopping plastic waste from entering the oceans.

As part of its Resources and Waste Strategy, the UK is also looking at other alternatives to reduce avoidable waste and recycle more.