Scotland to ban most problematic single-use plastics

Beach litter

Scotland has become the first UK nation to pursue a ban on some of the most problematic single-use products.

Legislation has been laid that will see Scotland ban: plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks), plates, straws, beverage stirrers and balloon sticks; food containers made of expanded polystyrene; and cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids.

Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater, said: “We are turning promise into action and banning some of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland. Every year, hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in this country. They litter our coasts, pollute our oceans and contribute to the climate emergency. That has to end and this ban will be another step forward in the fight against plastic waste and throwaway culture. This is another example of the sort of bold action that is needed if we are to deliver on the commitments that are being made at COP26.

“Crucially, the legislation includes exemptions for single-use plastic straws, to make sure that those who need them for independent living or medical purposes can still get access to them.  However, the ban is at risk from the UK Internal Market Act, which effectively exempts any items that are produced in or imported via another part of the UK.  I will be writing to the UK government to ask that they take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of this ban.”

The ban will come into effect on 1 June 2022.