A delayed ban stopping businesses from handing out plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds to customers comes into force today in England.
April had been the original deadline for the new legislation, which stops the sale and distribution of the single-use plastic items. But, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and given its impact on supply chains, the government decided to postpone the ban until now.
From today, it is illegal in almost all circumstances for businesses to give them out to customers with exemptions in place to protect disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws.
Pre-pandemic, Defra says the UK was getting through almost five billion straws annually, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion cotton buds.