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sustainable drinking straws

Change effective from October 2020

We are reckoned to use a staggering 4.7 billion straws, 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds and 316 million plastic stirrers every year in England.

Based on this data, the government has put together The Environmental Protection Regulations 2020 to restrict the supply of single-use plastic straws, single-use plastic-stemmed cotton buds, and plastic drink stirrers.

These new regulations come into effect in England from October 2020 (delayed from the original implementation date of April 2020 due to Covid-19). Scotland and Wales are expected to adopt similar legislation shortly.

This government intervention sends a signal to industry and the general public that we need to think carefully about the products that we buy and the materials from which they are made.

The regulations will help people to make more sustainable choices and will spur industry to innovate in this space, developing innovative alternative product solutions.


If there is a clear medical reason to buy plastic straws, then organisations may continue to buy them (ie healthcare or childcare).

Also catering establishments that supply food and drink are able to continue to provide plastic straws on request only. However, plastic straws must not be visible, nor accessible to the customer. And no questions should be asked of the end user as to the straw’s intended use.


To ensure compliance, the government has given trading standards authorities the power ​to enter and examine premises that they suspect are in breach of the law. Anyone caught still supplying these items against the rules set out in this legislation could face civil sanctions, such as stop notices or a variable monetary penalty.

Alternative sustainable products

There are now plenty of products that are made from wood or compostable paper which comes in different colours, shapes and sizes.

If you are looking for sustainable alternatives, please contact our team at and we will find you the right product that fits your needs.


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