The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on banning common single-use plastic items.

Items caught by the proposed ban would include plastic cutlery, straws, polystyrene food and drink containers, balloon sticks and products made from oxo-degradable plastics.

Some 300 million straws, 276 million pieces of cutlery, 50 million plates and 66 million food containers are used in Scotland each year.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “There is no longer any doubt that plastic waste is having a hugely damaging impact on our oceans, rivers and land ecosystems.

“We must act now to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic, and drive forward a move towards more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives.”

She said it would be important to introduce these measures carefully given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and any legislation would be expected in 2021.

The consultation will also seek views on a ban on the non-commercial supply and manufacture of the single-use plastic items concerned.

All oxo-degradable products would be banned under the proposals. The Scottish Government said this was because additives in these materials “contribute to micro-plastic pollution in the environment, is not compostable and negatively affects the recycling of conventional plastic”.

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