Plastic straws and stirrers could be banned within one year, as part of the government’s drive to cut plastic pollution.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has today launched a consultation on the distribution and/or sale of these items, in addition to stemmed cotton buds, in England.

As reported by the Guardian, launching the consultation on proposals today, environment secretary Michael Gove will cite the success of the 5p charge on single-use plastic bags, which led to an 86% drop in their use at major supermarkets.

It is estimated that 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m plastic stirrers and 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used in England each year.

The government is seeking to ban the distribution and sale of these items to try to force businesses to offer readily available non-plastic alternatives.

The ban would come into force at some point between October 2019 and October 2020, subject to the views collected during consultation.