Layer 1

Pharmacies banned from selling single-use plastic cotton buds

It is now an offence for pharmacies to supply or offer to supply single use plastic straws or single-use plastic stemmed cotton buds, following new legislation last week.

The ban on supplying plastic straws and stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, which applies to pharmacies  in England, came into force last week (October 1).

It is part of a drive by ministers to “fight against plastic waste to protect natural environments and marine wildlife,” the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement.

However, there are key exceptions to this rule that apply to community pharmacies. The legislation states that a “health professional” – which includes pharmacists and pharmacy technicians - may use single-use plastic for “medical purposes”.

The ban also does not apply to single-use plastic that forms part of a “relevant” medical device.

Pharmacies can also supply single-use plastic straws if these  are not “advertised to customers”. They also must “not be kept in a place where they are visible to customers or where customers can access them” and must not be offered or provided to a patient “unless the customer has requested them”, according to the legislation.

Existing stock of such products, if it was purchased before April 30, may be supplied until October 31.

What do you make of the ban?

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

always easy to blame the small guy. Not even bother to go to the manufacturers telling them to stop producing

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Fair enough. When you see pictures of seals with cotton bud sticks lodged in their nostrils slowly suffocating to death, it's a no brainer. The only problem is, this sort of detritus is just going to be replaced with another - discarded face masks are EVERYWHERE at the moment so it won't be long before the sea is clogged with old PPE.

Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)