Scotland to be first in UK to ban single use plastics from June 2022 - and these are the items affected

The ban on most single-use plastics will come into force in Scotland in June 2022

Most single-use plastics will be banned in Scotland from June next year. Most single-use plastics will be banned in Scotland from June next year.
Most single-use plastics will be banned in Scotland from June next year.

Scotland is to become the first UK nation to introduce a ban on the majority of single-use plastics.

It will come into effect next June after legislation was laid by the Scottish Government.

Plastic cutlery and drink stirrers are among the items that will be banned.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • The ban will come into force from 1 June 2022
  • Items affected include plastic cutlery and drink stirrers
  • An exemption will be in place for those who need plastic straws for medical reasons or to make sure they can live independently.
  • Scotland will be the first UK nation to impose the ban
  • Those who fall foul of regulations face a fine

What has been said?

The announcement comes after the publication of draft regulations in March 2021 and a twelve-week public consultation on the issue, which ended in January 2021.

It means it will be unlawful to manufacture or commercially supply the items. Although the manufacture of plastic straws and balloon sticks will be allowed as they are covered by exemption conditions. Single-use plastic straws will be allowed for those who need them for medical conditions, while the supply of single-use balloon sticks will also be allowed in certain circumstances.

Any person or business who falls foul of the regulations could be fined up to £5,000, according to the draft guidance of the regulations.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater, who is also co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said it was “bold action” which was needed if the commitments made at COP26 were to be delivered.

She said: “We are turning promise into action and banning some of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland. 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.

But Ms Slater said the Internal Market Act passed at Westminster last year could create problems with the ban.

“However, 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. I will be writing to the UK government to ask that they take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of this ban.”

What items will the ban cover?

It will apply to the following single-use items:

  • Plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks),
  • Plates
  • Straws
  • Beverage stirrers
  • Balloon sticks
  • Food containers made of expanded polystyrene
  • Cups and other drink containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids

How have people reacted to the news?

Keep Scotland Beautiful praised the action and tweeted: “Great news today that from June 2022 there will be fewer single use plastic items in circulation in Scotland.”

And the Children’s Parliament who had participated in Scotland’s Climate Assembly had said banning single-use plastics would be one of their top three calls to action.

In a tweet they said: “Very exciting news today from @lornaslater Banning single-use plastic was one of the children’s calls to action that inspired the adult Assembly Members to strengthen their own recommendation.”

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