Four in five Scots support restrictions on single-use items

Zero Waste Scotland survey comes as government consults public on plans to bring down plastic waste.

Four in five Scots support restrictions on single-use items Getty Images
Plastics: 77% concerned about level of waste.

Almost four in five Scots support restrictions on single-use items, according to a new poll.

Zero Waste Scotland surveyed 1004 people and found 79% would back new regulations to limit their use.

An estimated 300 million plastic straws, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 66 million polystyrene food containers and 50 million plastic plates are used annually, according to analysis prepared by the charity.

The survey also found 77% of people are very or fairly concerned about the number used.

It comes after the Scottish Government launched a public consultation over plans to restrict the use of some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastic items, including plastic cutlery and plastic straws.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Whilst plastic can be incredibly useful and beneficial in a number of areas, it also can cause significant damage to our environment if it isn’t disposed of properly.

“Scots are increasingly concerned about the impacts of disposable single-use items and can see how it is impacting on the country’s natural environment.

“Most of us don’t ‘need’ many of these single-use items being consulted on.

“By choosing reusables over disposables we can still have the benefit without the needless waste and carbon emissions associated with throwaway items.”

The consultation is seeking views on restricting plastic plates, straws, cutlery, polystyrene food and drink containers, beverage stirrers, plastic balloon sticks and products made from oxo-degradable plastics.

These items are the most commonly found single-use products found on beaches across Europe.

The Marine Conservation Society’s 2019 Beach Clean reported an average of 492 items of litter per 100 metres of beach in Scotland, with the majority being single-use plastic or polystyrene.

The consultation will also consider how access can be maintained for people who require items that perform a vital function that cannot be easily replaced, such as straws for medical use or to support independent living.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “There is no longer any doubt that plastic waste is having a hugely damaging impact on our oceans, rivers and land ecosystems.

“We must act now to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic and drive forward a move towards more sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternatives.

“Failure to do so is a dereliction of our duty to our children, who will inherit a natural world polluted by the plastics we have thrown away for the sake of convenience.”

It is expected any legislation would be introduced by 2021.