Support to reduce single-use items

Communities to receive help to reduce plastic waste and marine litter.

Communities will be able to bid for a share of up to £500,000 to reduce single-use plastics, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.

The new Action on Plastic Zero Waste Towns initiative will provide community groups with funding to deliver actions which would benefit their environment and local economy.

This could include the introduction of water bottle refill facilities, switching all single-use items in the community to the same material to make recycling easier, or replacing single use takeaway containers with reusable systems.

Ms Cunningham announced the new support at the ‘Reducing Plastic Waste and Marine Litter’ summit in Oban which brought together communities, manufacturers, retailers and marine and environmental stakeholders to discuss what actions can be taken in this area. 

She said:

“No one can escape the momentum that’s been building around plastic waste and marine litter which is why we are bringing communities and the industry together at this summit to come up with new and innovative ways of tackling this problem.

“This new Action on Plastic project will help communities find ways of reducing and reusing materials and preventing them from polluting our seas.

 “As we approach another milestone in our fight against marine litter, when our ban on the manufacture and sale of rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads comes into force, I would encourage every community and organisation in Scotland to consider what it can do to change behaviours and protect our environment.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland which is delivering the initiative, said:

"There's phenomenal interest right now on the back of the 'Blue Planet effect' from people all over Scotland wanting to take action on reducing waste, especially single-use plastics. 

“We're already supporting a number of trailblazer Zero Waste Towns and this new funding will help us to unlock even more great ideas led by communities to tackle our throwaway culture."

CalMac attended the summit, CalMac environmental manager, Klare Chamberlain said:

"We realise the damage that plastics can do to the marine environment, we see examples of it every day. That is what why we as a ferry operator are determined to do all we can to cut down on plastics and encourage the communities we support to do the same.

"So far we have completely removed straws and are now moving on to cups and other plastic packaging such as milk cartons and sauce sachets. Longer term our ambition is to remove as much plastic food packaging on board as possible."


The ban on the manufacture and sale of microbeads comes into force on 19 June.

In the last year the Scottish Government has committed to a deposit return scheme, is investing £500,000 to begin to address marine litter sinks, is carrying out a consultation on proposals to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds and has established an expert panel to advise us of best options to reduce our reliance on single-use items.

Communities are being encouraged to put forward expressions of interest to Zero Waste Scotland who will be arranging up to four workshops in regions where communities have expressed their interest to discuss the plans.

Organisations in attendance at the summit include CalMac, Highland Spring, Iceland, the Scottish Plastic and Rubber Association, Marine Conservation Society, the GRAB Trust and pupils from Sunnyside Primary School.


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