Zero Waste Scotland - as part of a wider package of measures aimed at tackling our throwaway society, the Scottish Government has launched a twelve-week public consultation on the introduction of market restrictions on certain single-use plastic items. 

Scotland has already taken such action with the existing ban on plastic-stemmed cotton buds and microbeads.      

The products included in this consultation are those which are most commonly found as marine litter in Europe.  This includes:

  • Single-use plastic cutlery;
  • Single-use plastic plates;
  • Single-use plastic straws;
  • Single-use plastic drink stirrers;
  • Single-use plastic balloon sticks;
  • Single-use expanded polystyrene food containers made of expanded polystyrene;
  • Single-use cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene;
  • all products made of oxo-degradable plastic*.

The proposals cover a series of products across all the different types of plastic that they can be made from, including ones that are made of plant-based materials and that are biodegradable or compostable, as well as single-use items which contain plastic but also other materials such as plastic-coated paper or plastic-lined cartons.

This action aligns with Article 5 of the EU Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, known as the Single-Use Plastics Directive.

What this means

This will lead to the introduction of legislation that restricts the availability of these single-use plastic items and all oxo-degradable products.

For businesses, it means they will not provide these items to end-users (customers) in Scotland on a free or chargeable basis - both on their premises or online.

The Scottish Government are also considering the introduction of a restriction on the supply of these items, where the supply is not linked to commercial activity.  For example, the supply by individuals in a personal capacity and the manufacture of these items.  This is not strictly required by the Single Use Plastics Directive and shall be considered as part of the consultation.

The Scottish Government has also laid out how it will give effect to the wider requirements of the Single-use Plastics Directive. This includes:

  • measures to reduce consumption of certain items;
  • the introduction of extended producer responsibility schemes, and;
  • separate collection requirements.

All these measures are intended to reduce the harm caused by single-use items, including reducing the amount of single-use plastics that end up as marine litter.

As well as single-use items, fishing gear is also within the scope of a number of these interventions as a significant proportion of plastic fishing gear placed on the market is not currently collected for treatment and, like single-use plastic items, can also pose a serious risk to marine ecosystems, biodiversity and to human health. It can also adversely affect industries such as tourism, fisheries and shipping. 

Read more on the Zero Waste Scotland website here

Take part in the consultation with your view here

Source: Zero Waste Scotland

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