Friday, 22 February, 2019

European Union 'one step ahead' of Michael Gove on plastic straw ban

Michael Gove the environment secretary is considering imposing a refundable deposit of 10p to 20p on bottles Michael Gove the environment secretary is considering imposing a refundable deposit of 10p to 20p on bottlesMATT DUNHAM AP
Melinda Barton | 24 February, 2018, 05:48

The environment secretary had criticised plastic straws during interviews on Friday but suggested that his hope of enforcing a ban could run into trouble with European Union legislation. I want to do everything we can to restrict the use of plastic straws and we're exploring at the moment if we can ban them.

After Michael Gove's announcement on Friday that the Government may ban plastic straws, some people will wonder: has this ocean plastic fuss all gone too far?

After Gove's remark, Frans Timmerman, Vice-President of the EU's executive cabinet, addressed him on Twitter.

Last September, pub chain Wetherspoon announced that it would stop using plastic straws in its 900 sites across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Maybe you can align with us?

The Queen has also banned single-use plastics from the royal residences - reportedly after watching hit TV nature show Blue Planet II, which showed damage plastic could do to the sea.

The comments from the Environment Secretary come after it was revealed the number of straws bought by Parliament had doubled in the last three years.

According to estimates of the Marine Conservation Society, the United Kingdom uses 8.5 billion straws a year, and plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups.

You can probably tell from that where I stand on plastic straws.

A number of eateries have recently taken steps to reduce plastic straw usage, with Wetherspoons, Wagamama and Pizza Express announcing that they will be phased out. "If they did not exist, there would be scant reason to invent them".

Prime Minister Theresa May pledged last month to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years, an action plan which included encouraging supermarkets to bring in plastic-free aisles.