MSP calls for UK-wide plastic straw ban
A Scottish politician has launched the Final Straw campaign, which petitions for a UK-wide ban on plastic straws.
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, launched the initiative as part of a wider campaign to ban single-use, disposable items, such as cotton buds and throwaway cutlery, where environmentally friendly alternatives exist.
A number of drinks firms have already moved to tackle plastic straw use.
In September last year, British pub chain JD Wetherspoon announced its decision to stop using plastic straws across its 900 pubs. Also in 2017, a new campaign, called Straw Wars, was launched to eradicate plastic drinking straws across London.
Meanwhile, in 2016, Bacardi removed straws and stirrers from cocktails served at its company events.
According to non-profit recycler Eco-Cycle, 500 million straws are used in the US every day. Based on this figure, Forbes says Scotland could be throwing out just under £3 billion (US$4bn) worth of straws every year.
“I represent a constituency which stretches from the east to the west coasts and I can see the impact of plastics on our seas,” she said.
“Along our coastline, plastics are choking our seas, damaging the environment and risking the lives of seabirds and sea creatures.”
Forbes continued: “The pub chain Wetherspoons have indicated that they consume 70 million straws a year in the UK and so the figures are huge.
“The ridiculous thing is that most people don’t ask for a straw and they don’t want one, but pubs and restaurants automatically pop it in their glass. That plastic straw could end up in our seas, causing damage to wildlife.”
The cabinet secretary for the Scottish Government has said ministers are “considering a number of options” with regards to plastic straws, according to Forbes.
Her campaign is being supported by the Marine Conservation Society, which is calling on all the governments of the UK to put in place a levy on other single-use items, such as cutlery and coffee cups.