Scottish Government opens consultation on ban of single-use plastics

PLANS to ban some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastic items have been published for consultation.

The Scottish Government is seeking views on the introduction of a new legislation to restrict the sale or commercial supply of plastic plates, plastic straws, plastic cutlery, polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic balloon sticks and products made from oxo-degradable plastics.

Millions are used in Scotland each year – including an estimated 300 million plastic straws, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 50 million plastic plates and 66 million polystyrene food containers, the Scottish Government added.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said, “There is no longer any doubt that plastic waste is having a hugely damaging impact on our oceans, rivers and land ecosystems. We must act now to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic and drive forward a move towards more sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternatives.

“Failure to do so is a dereliction of our duty to our children, who will inherit a natural world polluted by the plastics we have thrown away for the sake of convenience.

“This government is committed to tackling this problem. We were the first country in the UK to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds and plans are well underway for a deposit return scheme in Scotland.

“The proposals published today will take us further – keeping pace with the environmental standards of our European partners and re-affirming our position as a world-leader in the circular economy.

“However, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that the introduction of these measures is carefully considered. It is why we are keen to hear a range of views and I would encourage any individual, business or organisation with an interest to respond to the consultation.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, added, “Plastic is by far the most commonly used material in today’s single-use culture. There are clear benefits in use, of flexibility and durability, but plastic also causes significant damage when it leaks into our natural environment, including our rivers, lochs and seas.

“The consultation offers an opportunity to protect wildlife and prevent the heart-breaking scenes we see all too often in TV documentaries like Blue Planet 2. We hope people will also take this opportunity to adopt more sustainable solutions, such as reusable alternatives, to these single-use items.”

If given the go ahead, the Scottish Government said that the legislation would be expected to be introduced in 2021.