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Kickstart: Plastic straws return to center stage

Remember the plastic straw debate? Before the pandemic, plastic straws were at the center of a lot of discussions on single-use plastics.

Well, they're back. Or rather, a ban on plastic straws is back on in the United Kingdom. As our sister paper Sustainable Plastics writes, the U.K. was supposed to phase in a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton swab stems in April.

When the the coronavirus disrupted regular business — and supply chains for alternatives — the government moved the start date for the ban back to October. Now that's arrived.

"The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations," said U.K. Environment Secretary George Eustice.

Meanwhile in the U.S., coffee and doughnut shop chain Dunkin' has started a pilot program at 250 locations to replace standard plastic straws with biodegradable ones.

The blue-colored straw is made of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). Dunkin' didn't identify its supplier, but a PHA straw made by Danimer Scientific and WinCup won the Plastics Industry Association's 2020 Innovation in Bioplastics Award in August.

Publication date: 02/10/2020

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.