Market restrictions on single-use plastic items: consultation analysis

An analysis report summarising and describing the responses to the public consultation on introducing market restrictions on single-use plastic items in Scotland.

2 Description of the responses and respondents

2.1 This chapter provides information about the respondents to the consultation and the responses submitted.

Number of responses received

2.2 The consultation received a total of 2,694 responses. Of these, 792 were substantive –that is, personalised – responses and 1,902 were standard campaign responses. A standard campaign response is a non-personalised response based on a standard text provided by a campaign organiser. In this case, the campaign organiser was Friends of the Earth Scotland.[8] The remainder of this section describes the respondents who submitted substantive responses, while paragraph 2.12 below provides further information about the campaign responses.

2.3 Most of the substantive responses received were submitted through the Scottish Government's online consultation hub. However, 29 respondents submitted responses by email. The latter group included two organisational respondents who sent copies of their online responses by email, and three further organisations who submitted their responses through the online hub, but then submitted additional material (or evidence) by email. The two duplicate responses were removed, and these respondents have been counted only once in the analysis. In the case of the three organisations who submitted additional material, the different submissions made by these organisations were amalgamated, and similarly, these organisations have been counted only once in the analysis.

2.4 This process resulted in the removal of 5 responses from the analysis, and therefore, the analysis is based on 2,689 responses (2,694 submitted responses minus 5 removed responses). See Table 2.1.

Table 2.1: Responses included in the analysis
Response type Number of responses received / removed
Submitted through Scottish Government consultation hub 763
Emailed responses 29
  • Duplicates removed
  • Responses combined
Campaign responses 1,902
Total included in the analysis 2,689

About the respondents

2.5 Substantive responses were received from 90 organisations and 697 individuals. (Table 2.2).

Table 2.2: Responses included in the analysis, by respondent type
Respondent type n %
Organisations 90 11%
Individuals 697 89%
Total 787 100%

Organisational respondents

2.6 Table 2.3 below provides an overview of the types of organisations that responded to the consultation. The largest group of organisational respondents comprised environmental charities, third sector and community organisations (n=29). The second largest group was that of packaging manufacturers and other types of manufacturing organisations (n=22). The third largest category of organisational respondents was businesses in the food, drink, tourism, and business sectors (n=16).

Table 2.3: Organisational respondents, by type
Organisation type n %
Environmental charities, third sector and community sector organisations 29 32%
Packaging manufacturers and other types of manufacturing organisations 22 24%
Food, drink, tourism and other business organisations 16 18%
Public sector organisations 11 12%
Environmental consultancies and resource management organisations 8 9%
Other organisations 4 4%
Total 90 100%

Percentages do not total 100% due to rounding.

Individual respondents

2.7 The individuals responding to this consultation often identified themselves in their comments as volunteer beach / community litter pickers, or people with a personal or professional interest in and love of the outdoors (e.g., surfers, walkers, cyclists, sea swimmers, marine biologists or environmental scientists, farmers, individuals working in conservation or outdoor education, etc.). A small number of individuals said they currently (or previously) worked in catering or hospitality, or reported they had previously lived in other countries where they believed the issue of plastic pollution was being addressed more effectively.

2.8 Less often, respondents identified themselves as having a disability, or being the relative or carer of a person with a disability.

Response rate to individual questions

2.9 As mentioned in Chapter 1, not all respondents answered all the questions in the consultation. Among organisations, response rates varied from 84% (for Question 1(b) and the open part of Question 5) to 59% (for the open part of Question 6). Among individuals, response rates varied from almost 100% (for the eight closed questions that comprised Question 1(a)) to 30% (for the open part of Question 6).

2.10 In general, a larger proportion of individuals answered the consultation's closed questions than the open questions. Organisations, on the other hand, were as likely – and sometimes more likely – to answer the open questions than the closed questions.

2.11 Annex 2 provides full details of the number and proportion of organisational and individual respondents who replied to each consultation question.

Campaign responses

2.12 As noted above, the consultation received 1,092 standard campaign responses.

2.13 Friends of the Earth Scotland encouraged their members and supporters to take part in the consultation by providing a standard response template on their website which individuals could add their signature to, and then send to the Scottish Government by email.

2.14 The campaign text addressed three of the consultation questions – Questions 1, 5 and 8 – and is included in the analysis of comments made in relation to these questions. (See Chapters 3, 5 and 8.) However, the campaign responses are not included in the tables shown in each chapter, which are based on the substantive (i.e., non-campaign) responses only.

2.15 The Friends of the Earth Scotland campaign text is presented in full in Annex 3 of this report, along with a table showing how the text was allocated to individual consultation questions.



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