I’m an environmental expert – here are the plastic items that will be banned in Scotland from June

IN just a few weeks new laws will come into force banning single use items in Scotland.

Businesses won’t be able to hand out commonly binned products like drinks stirrers, cups and straws, with just a few exceptions.

Plastic straws will be banned


Plastic straws will be banned
Iain Gulland is urging Scots to get ahead of the law


Iain Gulland is urging Scots to get ahead of the law

In Scotland around 80 per cent of our carbon footprint comes from the things we produce, consume and chuck – and the idea is the new rules will help us move away from being a throwaway society

Ahead of the law change, Zero Waste Scotland is urging the country to switch to reusable items from bringing their own tubs to the takeaway to investing in on-the-go reusable cutlery – and the organization is already seeing some innovative trials as part of its Ditching Disposables pilot project with businesses.

Writing for The Scottish Sun, Chief Executive Iain Gulland is asking Scots to think outside the bin.

THE impact that single-use items have on our environment is a consistent concern for people living in Scotland.

They are an unnecessary blight on beaches, parks and cities.

More and more people are opting for alternatives to single-use plastic as awareness of the harm that throwaway items are doing to our environment grows.

But the truth is that all single-use items place excessive strain on our planet – increasing demand for raw materials to make them and ramping up carbon emissions in the process – whether they’re made from plastic or something else.

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In total around four fifths of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from all the goods and materials we produce, use and often throw out before the end of their usable life.

Our consumption habit is costing the Earth and disposable items are part of the problem.

But what if we think outside the bin?

The best way to tackle the effects of single-use items is to reduce the demand for them in the first place; we can simply not use them where they are not strictly necessary.

Reusable alternatives to products like cups and cutlery cut out the harmful effects of single-use items on the environment with the added bonus of keeping existing materials in use.

That’s what the circular economy is all about, making things last – and it promises a better future with less waste.

Think back to the introduction of the single-use carrier bag charge, which led to an 8 per cent drop in single-use bag uptake in the first year alone. Changes like this have huge potential to influence the way we use items for the better.

Another big sea change is on the way, with a ban on a wide range of single-use plastics coming in Scotland on June 1, subject to the UK Internal Market Act 2020.

From that date, a number of commonly littered single-use plastic items will be off the menu – including cutlery, plates and stirrers, as well as expanded polystyrene food containers and cups.

Single-use plastic straws and balloon sticks will also be included in the ban but are subject to some exemptions. For example, businesses in the hospitality sector will be able to make plastic straws available on request for customers who need them as a vital accessibility aid.

To help businesses prepare for the ban Zero Waste Scotland has launched a project called Ditching Disposables. The pilot is under way and has already seen some businesses in the Portobello and Joppa areas of Edinburgh move towards more sustainable solutions, for example by swapping single-use stirrers made of plastic or wood with reusable metal spoons.

One of the pilot businesses, Malvarosa, has a great example of how a small change in our approach to packaging can have a big impact.

The Portobello tapas restaurant has introduced a deposit scheme for reusable cups and reusable containers for paella. It sees the customer pay a small fee for their cup or container that’s returned once they’ve finished their drink or dinner and taken the cup or container back.

Replacing disposable items with reusable ones is one of the best things we can all do for the environment, helping to cut our carbon footprint as well as reduce litter and protect our oceans.

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For businesses it can also open up new opportunities to explore sustainable options and attract eco-conscious customers.

Single-use items have no part in a sustainable future.

By choosing reusables we can all pioneer a new way forward that’s better for people and planet.

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