Survey suggests Scots support restrictions on single-use plastic

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of Scots support introducing charges to help cut down on the use of single-use plastic items, according to a survey conducted for Zero Waste Scotland by YouGov.

The harm caused to the marine environment by single-use plastics was highlighted as the biggest factor, cited by 89 per cent of those who support a price addition similar to the carrier bag charge.

Single-use plastic cutleryThis was followed by reducing litter and helping reduce climate change, which were both mentioned by over 80 per cent of respondents.

“It's encouraging to see so many people in this survey link the single-use plastic issue to the negative impact it has on Scottish seas and wildlife,” commented Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer for the Marine Conservation Society.

“Now we're asking them to go one step further and respond to the Scottish Government consultation and add their support for banning several single-use plastic items.”

The survey results have come midway through a 12-week Single Use Plastic Directive Consultation administered by the Scottish Government.

The consultation is aiming to gather views on the introduction of new potential legislation that would restrict the sale and commercial supply of single-use plastic products.

Single-use plastic cutlery, plates and straws are among the list of products being considered for market restrictions. Restricting these items would bring Scotland in line with the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive 2019.

These single-use plastics are the most common items found on European beaches and were identified in the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive as contributing to the majority share of litter found in the marine environment.

According to Zero Waste Scotland, plastic represents 20 per cent of all terrestrial litter and it is the most commonly found littered item on Scottish beaches.

The consultation is also seeking views on the introduction of a ban on the non-commercial supply and manufacture of several single-use plastic products. Reusable alternatives would continue to be widely available.

Gemmell added: “We hope the Scottish Government will take swift action and bring in further measures to move Scotland towards a circular economy where nothing is wasted or thrown away, negatively impacting our seas and beaches.”

The consultation period will close on 4 January 2021, with any subsequent legislation expected to be introduced later in the year.