Publication - Consultation analysis

Ban of plastic-stemmed cotton buds: consultation response

Summary of responses to the Scottish Government's proposal to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

Ban of plastic-stemmed cotton buds: consultation response
3. Results

3. Results

Question 1: Do you support the proposal to introduce a ban on the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds in Scotland? (Please give reasons)

All respondents answered this question.

Yes – 825 (99.4%)
No – 5 (0.6%)

Reasons given for supporting the proposal

  • Environmental protection (73%)
    • Many respondents referred to first-hand experience of seeing these products littering beaches. They were aware of their harm to seabirds and the issue of marine plastics in general, with many referring to the "Blue Planet" programme.
  • Alternatives are available (12%)
    • Respondents were aware of the paper and bamboo alternatives that were readily available on the market.
  • Circular Economy (7%)
    • Respondents believe the legislation promotes better use of resources to improve the circular economy.
  • Sets a precedence for action on single-use plastics (5%)
    • Cotton buds were seen as part of the wider issue of single-use plastic items, a problem which needs to be addressed.
    • Respondents see this as the first step in legislative action against all single-use plastics
  • Threat to the human food chain (2%)
    • Plastic-stemmed cotton buds were seen as contributing to the plastic pollution of seas which could affect the human food chain.
  • Scottish Government demonstrating leadership (1%)
    • Some respondents referred to the need for Government to demonstrate leadership in order to encourage others to follow suit to help tackle marine litter at a global level.

The proportion of reasons to support this proposal, as stated by respondents, is laid out in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Reasons given for support of the proposal to legislate against plastic-stemmed cotton buds (%)
Figure 1. Reasons given for support of the proposal to legislate against plastic-stemmed cotton buds (%)

Reasons given for not supporting the proposal

All five of the respondents who stated they did not support the proposal to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds did so as individuals. One checked the "no" box erroneously and gave reasons for support of the proposal. Of the remaining respondents, three considered the focus should be on behaviour change to stop people flushing inappropriate items down toilets, rather than ban the item itself. The remaining respondent did not consider introducing new legislation to be a good use of Government time.

Question 2: If you are responding as a business, can you provide supporting evidence of any expected additional costs from this proposed ban?

7 respondents replied to this question as business owners and as a statutory body, Scottish Water. No business owner stated that they expected any additional costs as a result of the proposed legislation.

Scottish Water did not provide clarification on the issue of any potential additional costs, but did refer to the financial burden associated with the removal and disposal of plastic stems to landfill.


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