Scotland’s ban on single use plastics

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From 1 June 2022, it will be unlawful to manufacture or supply some single use plastic items in the course of business. We take a further look at what this means.

Plastic plates, straws, cutlery, stirrers, etc. will be banned from 1 June 2022 in Scotland
Plastic plates, straws, cutlery, stirrers, etc. will be banned from 1 June 2022 in Scotland

Following on from the commitments made at COP26, the Scottish Government announced new Regulations that will come into force on 1 June 2022, banning some single use plastic items in Scotland. The new Regulations which have been laid before the Scottish Parliament will make it unlawful to manufacture and supply any of the single use items below in the course of business, both online and in-store:

  • Plastic cutlery (such as forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks);
  • Plastic plates;
  • Plastic straws and beverage stirrers;
  • Expanded polystyrene beverage cups, including their covers and lids; and
  • Expanded polystyrene beverage containers.

The new Regulations apply to items supplied for free and those that are charged for.

It will be an offence for businesses in Scotland to supply these items to other businesses and to individuals, regardless of where those businesses or individuals are located.  Businesses based outside of Scotland will commit an offence if they supply such items to customers in Scotland.

A person or a business found in breach of the new Regulations may face a fine of up to £5000.


The Regulations provide for some exemptions for single use plastic straws. These exemptions cover where plastic straws are used as a medical device, for a medical purpose, or used in the course of a support service which provides personal care or support. Therefore, plastic straws will be available for purchase at pharmacies and certain other establishments such as care homes, schools, prisons and childcare centres will still be allowed to supply them.

Furthermore, the Regulations allow that hospitality venues may supply single use plastic straws for immediate consumption of food or drink, as long as they are not kept in a place visible to customers and the venue does not offer or provide them to customers, unless the customer specifically requests them.

Single use plastic balloon sticks can be used for professional or industrial purposes where they are used for decoration and not handed out to consumers.


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