Plastic-stemmed cotton buds, straws and drinks stirrers are facing a proposed ban by the UK Government, after it launched a consultation to make the selling or distribution of the plastic items illegal.
Eliminating single-use plastic items is high on the Government’s agenda as part of its 25-year Environment Plan. Plasticstemmed cotton buds are in the top 10 most common marine litter items to get washed up on the world’s beaches, and most use plastic-based adhesives to secure the cotton tips.
While the buds are a common consumable for salons and spas, they “cause multiple environmental harms particularly when they are discarded incorrectly, including harm to marine animals and visual pollution,” said the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’s impact assessment.
“Even if disposed of correctly, plastic-stemmed cotton buds may end up in incineration, generating high carbon emissions… Intervention is required in order to shift the cotton bud market to plastic-free alternatives that already exist and decompose much quicker.”
The consultation will run to December 3, 2018, and can be accessed at consult.defra.gov.uk.
The salon and spa industry continues to take steps to cut down on plastics usage.
BC Softwear has pledged to remove the individual plastic wrapping from every pair of spa and hotel slippers it sells from January 1, 2019, as well as the plastic wrappers from towels.