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    Scotland to ban most single-use plastic products from June 2022

    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

    Single-use plastic plates, cutlery and cups are among a raft of items that are set to be banned in Scotland as part of new regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament.

    The ban will come into effect on 1 June 2022.

    “We are turning promise into action and banning some of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland,” Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said.

    “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.”

    Slater, however, noted that 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, adding that she will be writing to the UK government to ask that they take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of this ban.

    Meanwhile, the UK government has earlier in August announced its plans to consult on a ban on some of these products in England.

    The Scottish ban will apply to the following single-use items: 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.

    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.  It is also still possible to use single-use plastic balloon sticks for industrial or professional uses where they are not handed out to consumers.

    Plan ahead

    After June next year, these plastic items, which are most commonly found as marine litter in Europe, will be banned unless an exemption applies. The restrictions apply to both online and in-store sales, whether they are free or charged for.

    Zero Waste Scotland has urged businesses to be proactive and start shifting to alternatives (such as reusable items) so their single-use plastics stock is used up when regulations come into force.

    “When switching to single-use plastics substitutes, businesses should consider this:  banning single-use plastic items can be a big win for some environmental impacts, such as the marine environment, however simply switching to other single-use items made of alternative materials can lead to other environmental impacts,” the environmental organisation said in a statement.

    “This is why businesses may wish to think about how reusables could fit into their operations and where this is not possible, ensure that single-use substitutes are carefully considered.

    In addition to this ban, the Scottish government has already consulted on the introduction of charges for the provision of items, such as single-use disposable items, that are harmful to the environment, and plans to establish a working group to support the design of a charge for single-use beverage cups, including arrangements for monitoring its effectiveness.

    In addition, the government will also consider how best to reduce consumption of on-the-go food containers which will involve various engagement activities with stakeholders in 2022.

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