Whilst the UK Government announced a relatively poor attempt at banning the use of plastics by 2042, Scotland has taken a quicker and much more active step in reducing the amount of single-use plastic it uses.
By the end of 2019, Scotland plans to ban the sale of plastic straws as well as the sale and manufacture of plastic cotton buds. A number of pubs, bars and restaurants across the country have already announced their intention to provide more sustainable options available to customers but this is the first nation that has announced a move to ditch a number of single-use plastics. The Scottish Government has banned the use of plastic straws in parliament in a strong sign of leadership on the issue.
Scotland has been dramatically more proactive than the rest of the UK when it comes to reducing the amount of plastic it uses. A ban on plastic cotton buds was announced just over a month ago and is predicted to reduce marine plastic pollution by half (Friends of the Earth Scotland). Whilst a number of campaigns have been implemented in an attempt to move people away from buying and disposing plastic cotton buds for biodegradable options, many have been unsuccessful. Creating legislation banning the sale of them, however, will put an end to it once and for all in Scotland.
When Will the Rest of the UK Catch Up?
It’s a good question. The start of 2018 has seen a number of pledges from governments and businesses around the world to reduce single-use plastics and even plastics that can be recycled- many of them planned over the next 5 years. The Conservative UK Government instead announced to clean up the amount of plastic used in the country by 2042; 25 years to do things that businesses and now some nations can pledge to do in a year.
It is telling people what they want to hear and making it a problem for future governments. The environment isn’t, and has never been, a priority for the Conservatives despite a number of party leaders wanting to make the current government the ‘greenest government ever’.
Small changes would be a start. Scotland is banning plastic cotton buds because there are many biodegradable options available. There is absolutely no excuse for any other nation within the UK to not follow suit when there are many alternatives on the market.
Scotland is taking the lead on plastic consumption. The current Scottish Government has vowed not to stop at plastic cotton buds and straws before the next election, now hopefully the rest of the UK can follow the Northern example…