Climate crisis Plastics Reducing Pollution

Single-use plastics – what happens now?

24 JAN 22 | 3 minutes

We’ve all seen the heart-wrenching images of marine and wildlife surrounded by plastic.  Unfortunately, you don’t need to go far to spot single-use items littering the areas we live, visit and enjoy right here in Scotland.

The single-use problem

As well as causing issues with litter, single-use items are a big contributor to climate change.  Around four-fifths of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from all the goods we produce, use and often throw out.

In the EU, the most commonly found and problematic single-use items on beaches are plastic cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks.  In Scotland, it’s also not hard to find expanded polystyrene food containers, expanded polystyrene cups and other beverages containers – equally damaging to surrounding environments and wildlife. 


Coming soon: the single-use plastics ban

So far, in Scotland, there have already been several steps put in place to combat the single-use problem including the ban of plastic stemmed cotton buds and microbeads, new regulations for a deposit return scheme, and the introduction of the single-use carrier bags charge.

An exciting next step is the new regulations on single-use plastics which are coming into force on 01 June 2022*. After this date, the single-use plastic items listed below will be banned unless an exemption applies.

Share to help us reach as many people in Scotland with the message that the #SingleUsePlasticsBan is coming soon!

Recycling is constantly evolving so check back for updates or use the Recycling Sorter to find out what items can be recycled at home in your council area. It even tells you which colour of bin to put them in!

For help recycling away from home, try our Recycling Locator. It uses your postcode to find your local household waste recycling centre or community recycling points and explains what you can recycle and dispose of at them.