The Scottish government has announced plans to match the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive in order to tackle marine litter coming from the ten most common single-use plastic products.
The panel recommended an introduction of a national, mandatory requirement to sell beverages and disposable cups separately, including an initial minimum price between 20-25p.
The government has announced that over the course of the next year will bring forward legislation to ban or restrict sales on the plastic items.
Their new legislation will also be part of the Circular Economy Bill and the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).
A DRS is when people pay a small fee when buying a drink in a single-use container and they will then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can to a collection point to be recycled.
Sue Bruce, chair of the panel said: ‘We have recommended a range of measures from charging separately for disposable cups to developing pilots to promote reusable cups.’
‘Our overarching message is that social marketing and raising availability and awareness of the alternatives to single-use are vital.’
In response, the Scottish government has said that they: ‘Agree with the Panel’s review of existing evidence that there is a clear case for encouraging change through price-based interventions.’
‘To this end, we have announced proposed legislation to enable Scottish Ministers to mandate charges for items known to cause environmental harm.’
Friends of the Earth Scotland plastic and circular economy campaigner, Sarah Moyes said: ‘Single-use disposable drinks cups are a major source of plastic pollution, with around 200 million being used in Scotland each year, we’re pleased to see this commitment from the Scottish government.’
‘Charging people for cups helps people to consider the full environmental costs of our throwaway society.’
The U.K is also considering similar plans, with the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) earlier this year launching a public consultation for a DRS for drink containers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The government is considering two options, an ‘all-in’ DRS including containers of any size, and an ‘on-the-go’ DRS that would include containers smaller than 750ml and drinks sold in single format containers to target those most often sold for consumption outside of the home.
In related news, sales of single-use plastic bags by England’s biggest retailers are continuing to plummet since the government began charging 5p for them in 2015, new figures have shown.
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