The Scottish government has announced it will ban the sale of plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food packaging next year. This is part of a larger plan to reduce plastic waste and cut pollution. The ban will include all polystyrene food packaging containers and their lids, as well as balloon sticks, plates, coffee stirrers and other single-use plastics.
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Although the Scottish government has pledged to enact the ban on June 1, doubts abound due to its entanglement in U.K. climate policies. The ban itself is parallel to a similar ban planned across the U.K. Individual countries within the union have expressed their doubts about the ban’s effectiveness, prompting the move for individual policies.
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The U.K. is accused of being slow to enact key climate decisions. In 2020, England banned plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers, but the ban has yet to begin. The U.K. is still consulting on the matter, in a process that seems to be taking a lifetime.
Due to such delays, the Scottish government is worried the ban could be undermined by the U.K. market’s internal rules. Under U.K. market rules, all the countries in the union have to wait for a harmonized move on climate matters, since they share the same market and customers.
According to Lorna Slater, a Scottish Green Party Minister, the climate disaster is an emergency and should be addressed fast. Slater says there is no time to waste since the oceans and landfills are already overwhelmed by plastic waste.
“Every year, hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in this country,” Slater said. “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.”
Slater has expressed her fears over the matter, saying that if the ban is implemented in Scotland alone, it might be sidestepped by people shopping in England. The minister has written to other ministers to see whether the U.K. could consider allowing Scotland to make independent policies on the matter.
The U.K. and its four member states have been criticized for being reluctant to implement these bans. Already, the E.U. and its 27 member states have banned single-use plastics. The U.K. is now under pressure to speed up its process to avoid littering the region.
Via The Guardian