A consultation has been launched by the Scottish Government into restricting the sale of single use plastic , for example:
- Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)
- Single-use plastic plates (plates, trays/platters, bowls)
- Single-use plastic straws
- Single-use plastic beverage stirrers
- Single-use plastic balloon sticks
- Single-use food containers made of expanded polystyrene
- Single-use cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids
- All oxo-degradable products. This type of plastic (due to additives contained in it) contributes to micro-plastic pollution in the environment, is not compostable and negatively affects the recycling of conventional plastic.
It is estimated that in Scotland every year 300 million plastic straws, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 50 million plastic plates and 66 million polystyrene food containers are used. Many of these items find their way into our seas and washed ashore on our coastlines.
The consultation comes at a time when Covid restrictions have seen many takeaway facilities going back to using single use plastic where consumers used to be able to use their own refillable cups at.
The restrictions would be such that they would effectively be a ban on these products. Groups which represent carers and those with disabilities have commented previously about how an outright ban on products like plastic straws would affect those with feeding and drinking problems.
The consultation paper states:
The Scottish Government wants to take an open approach and hear the views of disabled people on how best to satisfy the above requirements of the SUP Directive whilst maintaining access to single-use plastic straws for those who need them.
And as we covered in a previous issue of The Orkney News the fastest growing problem is with single use face masks:
The current COVID-19 pandemic has introduced some new challenges, exposing our reliance on single-use items which have been utilised as a means to suppress transmission of the virus and support the continued functioning of society. While we cannot ignore the long-term damage to the environment caused by this approach, any change must be carefully managed and inclusively delivered, maximising opportunities for business, our economy and society more broadly. This type of “Just Transition” is crucially important.
The consultation paper can be found here: Market restrictions on single-use plastic items: consultation
You can shared your views here: Consultation
The consultation closes on 4 January 2021.