Scotland to ban single-use plastics, microbeads

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Roseanna Cunningham (R)

The Scottish government is planning to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds and will shortly be banning rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads, according to cabinet secretary for the environment, climate change and land reform Roseanna Cunningham. 

Speaking on the occasion of World Environment Day 5 June, Cunningham said the move was part of Scotland, and the EU’s, vision to reduce single-use plastics and ensure any single-use plastics are easily recyclable by 2030. 

“Last week we announced our plans to remove single-use coffee cups from our main buildings as from 4 June and I hope this encourages other organisations to take similar action,” said the secretary.

Also concurrent with World Environment Day 2018 – which has been themed “beat plastic pollution” - Zero Waste Scotland has released figures indicating that over 64,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging and plastic bottles is binned as household general rubbish and landfilled every year in Scotland.

The waste dump costs Scotland £11m (€12.5m) each year, said organisation, claiming each Scottish household bins 27kg of food and drink plastic on average each year.

“This plastic could have been worth £5.7 million if recycled, but instead costs Scotland, and the relevant local authorities, an estimated £5.3 million to send to landfill,” the organisation noted.

“Plastic is a valuable resource, and one which can help generate additional income when recycled properly, yet we are throwing it away, adding to pollution in Scotland,” said Iain Gulland, chief executive, Zero Waste Scotland.

There is, he noted, “an enormous opportunity” to turn single-use plastic bottles into a valuable resource if placed in the correct recycling bins.

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