U.K. proposes ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton swabs

In a sweeping movement to help reduce the amount of non-recyclable consumer waste, the U.K. government has announced plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs. “Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world,” Prime Minister Theresa May announced in a statement on Wednesday, in which she called the U.K. government to be “a world leader on this issue.” Downing Street also said in the statement that it would work with industry in developing alternatives and ensuring “there is sufficient time to adapt.” The proposal would exempt plastic straws used for medical reasons. The ban is a small step in an overall effort to reduce plastic pollution from finding its way into the Earth’s oceans. According to the announcement, 150 million tons of plastic find its way to the water each year. This trash is responsible for killing one million birds and…