A Scotland-wide ban on some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastic products is finally coming into effect next month.
From June 1 this year, it will be unlawful to manufacture and supply customers with some single-use plastic items.
Here is everything you need to know before the ban comes into place.
What items are banned?
The new regulations will ban the following single-use plastic items from being provided in the course of business.
- Plastic cutlery (including forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)
- Plastic plates
- Plastic straws
- Plastic beverage stirrers
- Plastic balloon sticks
- Food containers made of expanded polystyrene
- Cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids.
The ban will mean that it will be unlawful to make and supply any of these items commercially and this applies to both online and in-store sales, whether they are free or charged for.
Are there exemptions to the ban?
Single-use plastic straws will still be available to purchase for those who require them to eat and drink independently or for medical purposes.
The straws will still be available to purchase at pharmacies or given on request at hospitality or catering premises.
In locations such as care homes, schools, childcare and early learning facilities as well as prisons, where single-use plastic straws may be essential. a supply of the item will be permitted.
In addition to straws which may be used as an accessibility aid by many people, single-use plastic balloon sticks will still be permitted for industrial or professional uses.
However, this only applies where the balloon sticks are not being handed out to customers.
Why has providing single-use plastics in business settings been made unlawful?
The legislation is aimed at tackling the country’s “throwaway culture”.
Speaking at the time the legislation was laid out, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said the policy was another “step forward” against plastic waste.
“We are turning promise into action and banning some of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland,” she said.
“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.”
Could the ban be expanded to other items?
At the start of April this year, the Scottish Government began a call for evidence on how to reduce the use of single-use food containers, not including those made of expanded polystyrene which are covered by the ban.
While no move has been made to ban these items, we could seemore products eventually banned in Scotland.