Apr 19, 2021 | Plastic

Single-use plastics: the law is changing

magenta plastic spoon half buried in the beach

As part of a wider package of measures to tackle our throwaway society, the Scottish Government set out its plans to introduce restrictions on problematic single-use plastic items in 2020 with a twelve-week public consultation on the issue, which ended in January 2021. A report with findings from the public consultation is available.  The draft regulations have now been made available for public comment.

The items which will be restricted are:

  • Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, sporks, chopsticks etc.);
  • Single-use plastic plates including trays and platters;
  • Single-use plastic straws*;
  • Single-use plastic beverage stirrers;
  • Single-use plastic balloon sticks*;
  • Single-use food containers made of expanded polystyrene;
  • Single-use cups made of expanded polystyrene;
  • All products made of oxo-degradable plastic e.g. carrier bags, agricultural mulch films and other products are sometimes made of oxo-degradable plastic.

The ban will mean that it will be unlawful to make and supply any of these items commercially and this applies to both online and in-store sales, whether they are free or charged for.

*exemptions apply

** oxo-degradable plastics are plastic materials that include additives which, through oxidation, lead to the disintegration of plastic material into micro-fragments or to chemical decomposition.

For more information see the Zero Waste Scotland page.