The month of May 2018 has seen the UK Government start to implement the ban of plastic straws and wet wipes across commercial eating establishments and some retail stores. A part of the government’s 25-year Environment Plan, the country has seen some positive changes in tackling the current plastic waste crisis.
Banning the sale of wet wipes in the UK will hopefully see big improvements in Britain’s sewer systems and natural environments. Even though wet wipes are marketed as ‘flushable’ they do not break down effectively, so they are prone to block sewer drainage systems. This is a big issue as currently there is a pile of 5,000 wet wipes in the River Thames near Hammersmith Bridge in London.
Single-use plastic such as wet wipes, straws and cotton buds are under scrutiny by the government, with the cotton bud and plastic straw ban likely to take full force next year in 2019. Michael Gove, the UK’S Environmental secretary states, “It is only through government, business and the public working together that we will protect our environment for the next generation.” The UK has made it clear that they are willing to help our planet, from the positive results of the 5p retail bag charge in October 2015. In 2015, the UK government introduced a 5p charge for all single-use plastic carrier bags to encourage people to bring their own reusable bags.
A spokesman for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said “As part of our 25-year environment plan we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products that include plastic such as wet wipes.” With more plastic awareness spreading throughout the nation, there should be more changes made to single-use plastic products such as plastic straws and cotton buds. There is currently 150m tonnes of plastic in our oceans, that over 100,000 sea mammals die from. The UK ban of wet wipes will hopefully be one of many changes to change this statistic.
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