A survey has revealed the concern citizens of Scotland have around single-use plastic items and packaging and that 66% would support introducing charges, similar to the carrier bag charge, to cut down their use.
The poll for Zero Waste Scotland highlights that reducing harm to the marine environment was cited by 89% of those backing an addition to an item’s price for containing single-use plastic as the reason for their support.
This was followed by reducing litter (87%) and to help stop/reduce climate change (81%).
Other views included conserving natural resources (77%) and to protect biodiversity (75%).
It is clear from these results that people are worried about the impact single-use plastic items have on our environment. These items can last for decades and the damage they can cause to wildlife is shocking.
The survey, carried out by YouGov, comes as the Scottish Government consults on its latest steps to reduce the use of single-use items and introduce market restrictions on items most commonly found on beaches in Europe, including plastic cutlery and plastic straws.
Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, said: “It is clear from these results that people are worried about the impact single-use plastic items have on our environment. These items can last for decades and the damage they can cause to wildlife is shocking.
“We have to find ways to cut down the stream of items we are sending into what should be pristine habitats and the consultation offers a valuable way for people to contribute to the discussion around market restrictions.”
Views are being sought on the introduction of new legislation to restrict the supply of single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, plastic cutlery, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, beverage stirrers, plastic balloon sticks and products made from oxo-degradable plastics. Reusable alternatives would continue to be widely available.
These are the most common items found on European beaches and were identified in the EU Single Plastics Directive as contributing the majority share of litter found in the marine environment, Zero Waste Scotland says.
The Marine Conservation Society’s 2020 Great British Beach Clean reported an average over 100m of beach surveyed in Scotland 297.9 items of litter (of which 183.6 were plastic items). Six of the top 10 items found are recognised under the EU Single use plastic directive.
It’s encouraging to see so many people in this survey link the single-use plastic issue to the negative impact it has on Scottish seas and wildlife
Catherine Gemmell, Scotland conservation officer for the Marine Conservation Society, said: “It’s encouraging to see so many people in this survey link the single-use plastic issue to the negative impact it has on Scottish seas and wildlife. Now, we’re asking them to go one step further and respond to the Scottish Government consultation and add their support for banning several single-use plastic items.
“We hope the Scottish Government will take swift action and bring in further measures to move Scotland towards a circular economy where nothing is wasted or thrown away, negatively impacting our seas and beaches.”
According to Scottish Government figures, around four fifths (80%) of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from all the goods, materials and services that we produce, use and often throw out after minimal use.
Part of the consultation process is to understand how access can be maintained for people who require items that perform a vital function that cannot be easily replaced. For example, straws may be required for medical use or to support independent living.
The Single Use Plastic Directive Consultation closes on 4 January 2021.