Plastic straws

The UK could ban plastic straws

Apparently we throw away 8.5 billion straws a year

The UK is on a war against plastic. The government has now launched a consultation about whether or not it should ban the use of plastic straws and cotton buds.

What it means: According to the consultation document, the UK throws away 8.5 bn plastic straws every year... that's a lot of G&Ts.

The UK has recently tried to paint itself as a "world leader" on the fight against plastic waste. The image of straws and Q-tips and stuff floating around in the ocean is slowly seeping in to our consciousness, and the government is starting to act.

It's taken a number of different approaches so far: there's the 'incentives' approach – putting a charge on plastic bags, or a new idea to give rewards for bringing back plastic bottles. Then there's the all-out ban: microbeads (tiny little balls of plastic) can't be used in cosmetics or toothpaste anymore (yah, you used to brush your teeth with little balls of plastic, don't think about it too much) and now the plastic straws.

The government's got a big fight on its hands. We live in a pretty throw-away society, and encouraging people to change the way they think about 'consumption' and waste isn't easy. But there's been some success – the plastic bags charge has reduced the amount of bags we use by more than 80 per cent in England.

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