The UK Government has confirmed that the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds with plastic sticks will be banned in England from April 2020.
The move comes following a consultation with DEFRA, which concluded in December 2018.
It is estimated that 5bn plastic drink straws, 2bn cotton buds and 300m plastic stirrers are put into the national waste stream each year.
The only exceptions to the new regulations will be for people with a medical need or disability, for whom the plastic products will be available upon request.
Maddy Haughton-Boakes at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “While it is fantastic news that the government has taken such decisive action… we are deeply disappointed that Michael Gove [Environment secretary] hasn’t taken the opportunity to ban these unnecessary items all together, whatever the material.
“It’s simply not good enough to switch to so-called “alternatives”, when single-use items should be phased out altogether.”
Various companies have stopped using, or have plans to stop using single-use plastics. McDonalds now uses paper straws in the UK, while grocery chain Whole Foods is planning to eliminate the straws across its global 500-store estate.