Sunday, 19 Sep 2021

SNP to follow EU directive to impress Joe Biden and Pope Francis at crunch summit

Patrick Harvie reveals Greens' 'transformational' plans for Scotland

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The move will outlaw a large number of everyday plastic products, including coffee cups and takeaway boxes. Disposable knives and forks, cocktail stirrers and drinking straws are also included.

This would mean hospitality businesses including restaurants, cafés and takeaways would have to change how they package food and drink.

It comes as FOI data revealed the Scottish Government has used almost 1.8 million plastic cups and pieces of cutlery in less than two years despite SNP ministers stressing single-use plastics were “hugely damaging” to the environment.

Figures revealed that between 2018 and 2020, 875,000 single-use plastic cups were used by ministers and civil servants at a cost of £10,056.

The SNP-led Government also splashed out on 301,000 plastic forks, 251,000 plastic knives and 343,000 plastic spoons at a cost of £18,677.

This totals 1.77 million single-use plastic items used by the administration between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2020.

Across Scotland, more than 300 million plastic straws, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 9.9 million stirrers, 66 million polystyrene food boxes and 45 million polystyrene cups are used on average per year.

Holyrood politicians are set to bring forward the legalisation based on the EU’s single-use plastic directive, which required member states to introduce restrictions to the sale of some of the most environmentally harmful single-use plastic products by July 2021.

Scottish ministers have notified the World Trade Organisation of their plans ahead of the two-week climate meeting in Glasgow in November.

High-profile delegates attending the event include US President Joe Biden and Pope Francis.

Scotland’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said in a letter to the Scottish Parliament: “I am writing to advise you that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been notified of the intention of the Scottish Government to ban some of the most problematic single-use plastic products.’

“An attached notification to the WTO shows the Scottish Government intends to adopt the law by November, when COP26 begins.”

Liam Kerr MSP, who has the same portfolio for the Tories, said: “As we tackle the climate emergency, people would be expecting the SNP Government to be setting an example by cutting down on their plastic waste.

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“The SNP must urgently guarantee we will not see a return to the shocking amount of plastic cups and cutlery used in catering contracts.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said it “is committed to matching or exceeding the standards set by the EU single-use plastics directive”.

They added: “We will take further action by banning more problematic single-use plastic items including cutlery, plates, beverage stirrers and expanded polystyrene food and drink containers by the end of 2021.

“We will also take further steps to consult on a charge on single-use disposable beverage cups.”

The laws are expected to be in place in November, although not fully applied across the country until next year.

 

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