The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on its plans to ban some of the most environmentally-damaging plastic items in Scotland.
It is proposing to introduce new legislation to restrict the sale or commercial supply of plastic plates, straws and cutlery, polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic balloon sticks and products made from oxo-degradable plastics.
Millions of these single-use plastic products are used in Scotland every year, including an estimated 300 million plastic straws, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 50 million plastic plates and 66 million polystyrene food containers.
They are most commonly found washed up on European beaches and were identified as contributing the majority share of litter found in the marine environment in the EU Single Plastics Directive.
The consultation, which is open until 4th January 2021, is also seeking views on the introduction of a ban on the non-commercial supply and manufacture of the single-use plastic items.
Any legislation related to these single-use plastic products is expected to be introduced in 2021.
Scottish 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 the 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 reaffirming our position as a world leader in the circular economy.”