Market Restrictions on Single-Use Plastic Items
17. Building on the above action, we are now proposing to introduce market restrictions on single-use plastic items and on all oxo-degradable products as identified in Article 5 of the SUP Directive and intend to introduce Regulations in 2021 to effect this change. This would mean that, from this date, businesses could not supply these items in Scotland, irrespective of whether those businesses intend to charge for those items or not. The supply restriction would apply regardless of the channel of distribution (whether physical or online). Although it is not strictly required by the SUP Directive, we are also considering, through this consultation, the introduction of a restriction on the supply of these items where the supply is not in the course of a commercial activity (for example, the supply by individuals in a personal capacity) and the manufacture of these items.
18. A market restriction has already been implemented in respect of plastic-stemmed cotton buds in keeping with the requirements of the Directive. This consultation therefore focuses on the following products:
- 1. Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks);
- 2. Single-use plastic plates (plates, trays/platters, bowls);
- 3. Single-use plastic straws;
- 4. Single-use plastic beverage stirrers;
- 5. Single-use plastic balloon sticks;
- 6. Single-use food containers made of expanded polystyrene;
- 7. Single-use cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids;
- 8. All oxo-degradable products.
More detailed definitions of these items are included below.
19. By introducing market restrictions, the Scottish Government wishes to see innovative solutions towards more sustainable business models and re-use alternatives prioritised over substitution of materials. The Scottish Government understands the problems caused by single-use items cannot be solved by replacing them with alternative single-use items made with different materials. While the focus is on the items listed above, the Scottish Government is committed to monitoring closely the response to these restrictions and assess what more needs to be done to address our throwaway culture.
20. The items covered by the SUP Directive are based on the most commonly littered items found on beaches across Europe. The Scottish Government recognises that Scotland's beaches are blighted by some items not identified by European level studies. Marine Scotland has identified plastic wet wipes and plastic tampon applicators as being particularly problematic. The UK Plastics Pact's list of items to be eliminated by end of 2020 covers similar items to those in the SUP Directive as well as packaging made of PVC.
21. It is the Scottish Government's intention to explore further market restrictions on this wider range of items in due course. This would reduce the amount of marine litter found on Scotland's beaches, and support the actions already taken by some industry actors.