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What is the plastic straw ban?

In 2020, a ban on plastic straws came into force in England.

There are some exemptions to the ban, to help ensure those with disabilities or accessibility needs can still use them.

The exemptions are as follows:

1) Registered pharmacies can supply single-use plastic straws to anyone who requests them, providing they do not openly advertise or display them.

2) Catering establishments e.g., restaurants, canteens, pubs etc, can supply single-use plastic straws with food and drink for immediate consumption, but only to those who request them. They must not be offered unless the customer has requested one. The straws must also be kept out of sight, to prevent all customers helping themselves to them.

3) Single-use plastic straws can be supplied for use as a medical device or for medical purposes, e.g., as part of preventative medicine, a medical diagnosis, medical research or providing medical care and treatment.

4) Plastic straws can still be provided in certain establishments, including care homes, prisons, and schools.

The Government want to understand more about the impact of this ban, including on spinal cord injured people. If you feel you have been impacted by the ban, they would be interested to hear about your experiences.

In particular, they would like to know:

1. How are the exemptions working in practice? For example, what are your experiences of requesting a straw, either in a catering establishment or pharmacy?

2. If plastic straws aren’t available, are you typically able to access alternative types of straws? What alternative straws do you use e.g. paper, metal, bamboo, glass, and what are your experiences of using these?

How can I help?

If you feel you have been affected by the ban or are able to answer any of the questions above, please email Dave Bracher who will ensure your experiences are fed into the review.

Thank you for your support.