25 October 2018
The government has launched a consultation proposing a ban on selling or distributing plastic stemmed cotton buds, plastic straws and plastic stirrers in England from October 2019.
The move is part of the government's 25 year Environment Plan to reduce avoidable plastic waste, especially single use items. Plastic stemmed cotton buds are in the top 10 most common marine litter items washed up on beaches. As well as having plastic stems, most cotton buds use a plastic based adhesive to keep the cotton tips in place.
We expect environmentally aware beauty salons will have already started switching to cotton buds with paper stems and plastic-free adhesive.
NHBF chief executive Hilary Hall said, "beauty salons value the low cost and convenience of using plastic stemmed cotton buds for treatments such as eyelash tinting. The problems of public pollution are now much better understood so we expect environmentally aware beauty salons will have already started switching to cotton buds with paper stems and plastic-free adhesive. This will happen more quickly, ahead of the proposed ban, if supplies are readily available from manufacturers and wholesalers and at an affordable price."
Plastic litter is damaging to wildlife and marine animals and leads to huge clean-up costs. As well as the proposed ban on sale and distribution of these items, the introduction of taxes or other charges designed to reduce plastic use could be announced in next week's Budget. The government has already said that it will run a consultation on increasing the charge on plastic carrier bags from 5p to 10p. At present, in England, the charge only applies to bigger businesses with more than 250 staff, although smaller businesses can charge on a voluntary basis. If proposed changes are implemented, this would bring England into line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where the charge has always applied to all businesses.