The Outlaws
Scotland Fully Bans Single-Use Plastics with Exemption from UK Internal Market Act

As you may recall from our previous post, on the 1st June 2022, in a bid to further address the climate crisis, the Scottish government made it unlawful to commercially supply eight of the country's most commonly used single-use plastic items. However, it remained legal for Scottish businesses to source these supposedly outlawed goods from suppliers based elsewhere in the UK due the UK Internal Markets Act (IMA). Last week the Scottish Government announced the country would become exempt from the IMA from the 12th August 2022, closing the legal loophole.

As with the previous restrictions, the legislation prevents the sale and manufacture of plastic plates, cutlery, cups (and lids), stirrers, straws, polystyrene takeout containers and balloon sticks. The latest slew of undesirables join previous serial offenders - plastic stemmed cotton buds, microbeads and plastic bags which were all banished back in 2019 - on the list of Scotland’s now outlawed single-use products. A full ban brings huge environmental benefits to Scotland and further supports global initiatives.

To ensure businesses are not caught out by the changes (and if you've not seen them already) we’ve curated some of our favourite ‘swaps’ for the soon to be outlawed single-use plastic items and put them all together ready for you to browse here at our online shop. These include wooden cutlery, paper cups and straws, plant-based (board) take away boxes and trays, stirrers and lids. Our dedicated Scottish account manager, Stephen Ferguson, also remains on hand to support food business through these and other legislative changes.    

The initial laws were published last year following a three month consultation - part of a much wider reaching initiative to curb Scotland’s throwaway culture, reduce marine litter and support a more circular economy. Additional regulations have been passed to roll out a deposit return scheme for drinks bottles. The government is also assessing further schemes for the future including separate waste collection requirements and consumption reduction measures. 

Exceptions do apply to some, very limited settings. Plastic straws will still be available to buy and use for medical reasons (as needed, for example, in childcare, clinical or prison settings). Bizarrely, balloon sticks are also exempt if used in an industrial or professional setting as long as they are not distributed to the general public. So, for example, exhibitors could use them on a stand at a trade show but are not permitted to give them out to attendees. 

For Further Information Please Visit:

Zero Waste Scotland