The War Against Plastic Waste

The War Against Plastic Waste

Plastic waste has a major negative effect on our environment and many countries around the world are now taking serious steps to tackle this matter. Most countries have added tax charges to plastic bags, with the intent of encouraging shoppers to re-use them. This has seen a significant drop in the number of bags ending up as environmental waste.

The next step of this plan is the ban on plastic cutlery, cups and drinking straws, which has already begun in some countries around the world. Scotland has already imposed a ban on plastic straws that should take full effect by 2019. However, there is no word on whether the UK will implement this same ban on other plastic utensils.

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France was the first country to implement a ban on plastic cups and plates, a campaign that is expected to be in full effect by 2020.

Phuripob Wichaijiranath, a business management student at the University of Strathclyde said, “I was in Paris last month and found myself in a situation where I had ordered a Yoghurt in a convenience store, but they were not able to provide me with a spoon. The only option I had was to eat it with a wooden coffee stirrer, which I found ridiculous. That being said, I do appreciate that this has been put in place for the good of the environment”

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Many restaurants have begun the process of testing out alternatives for their customers, with McDonalds replacing their straws with paper alternatives in some of their restaurants, in preparation for this alleged ban coming into effect next year.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“The Scottish Government has shown its environmental leadership by becoming the first in the UK to propose banning the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds. Protecting our seas and oceans from the blight of plastic pollution is of great importance and we recognises the need to take action when the health of our marine environment is threatened. Plastic-stemmed cotton buds are entering our waters and littering our beaches needlessly. Our intention is to introduce legislation to ban these products and the first stage of this process is to consult on the proposal.

“This proposal is part of a range of Scottish Government measures to help tackle the scourge of plastics polluting our marine environment and littering our streets. In addition to our National Litter and Marine Litter strategies we are introducing a deposit return scheme to recycle more drinks containers, committing £500,000 to help address marine litter sinks and establishing an expert panel to advise us on our work to reduce our reliance on single use items.”

As much as an inconvenience this will be for those who like to have a quick take-away snack or drink, this ban will do so much good for the reduction of ocean pollution, Ultimately, we should try and embrace whatever changes will come, as we did when the plastic bag charge came into place in 2014.

Photo Credit: Callum Macdonald

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