On the 7th of April 2022, the Scottish Government released a call for evidence encouraging individuals and organisations to help inform policy development on how to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items.
The call for evidence can be accessed online via the Scottish Government website and is taking responses until the 30th of June 2022.
This call for evidence on the impact of single-use plastic products is part of the Scottish Government’s target to reach net zero by 2045 and tackle the climate crisis. According to the Scotland carbon footprint report, around 75% of Scotland’s carbon footprint is caused by the consumption, production, and waste of goods and services.
Furthermore, every year hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in Scotland. This is not only wasteful but also generates litter that pollutes our oceans, rivers and ecosystems.
Following commitments made at COP26, the Scottish Government have introduced regulations that aim to tackle the detrimental effects of single-use plastic items. From the 1st of June 2022, the new regulations will make it unlawful to manufacture or supply some single-use plastic items, such as plastic cutlery and plates.
However, the Scottish Government has stated that the new regulations are not the final step in mitigating single-use plastics, as they are keeping under review what other single-use products they should consider taking action on next.
Two products not included in this call for evidence are single-use beverage cups and wet wipes. Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater, has announced plans for charges on coffee cups, stating that:
“Single-use coffee cups are a classic example of the throwaway culture that we are taking action to tackle.”
She believes that the additional charges for coffee cups will encourage people to invest in reusable cups, saying that:
“Evidence shows that a small charge on single-use cups can be hugely effective in encouraging people to switch to a reusable alternative.”
In regards to wet wipes, the Scottish Government has supported WaterUK’s Fine to Flush standard, which requires manufacturers to make wet wipes without plastic and that break down easily through standard water treatment processes.