The Scottish Government is seeking views on the draft Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products and Oxo-degradable Plastic Products) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.
This consultation is a follow-up to the initial consultation "Tackling Scotland’s Throwaway Culture: Introducing Market Restrictions on Problematic Single-Use Plastic Items in Scotland" carried out between 2 October 2020 and 4 January 2021.
The Scottish Government has vividly expressed its ambition to reduce marine litter and support a shift away from our throwaway culture but also, to meet or exceed the standards of the European Union’s Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Directive. It is now consulting on draft Regulations introducing market restrictions – effectively a ban – for problematic SUP items and all oxo-degradable products in line with Article 5 of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive (EU) 2019/904.
For retailers, this means that SUP items, identified in the Regulations, and all oxo-degradable products will have to be removed from the shelves, unless a targeted exemption applies.
It is currently unclear what impact the Internal Market Act 2020 may have on the final version of these Regulations, but the Scottish Government is moving forward on the assumption that other UK nations will introduce the same or similar restrictions as those required by the SUP Directive.
WHAT IS IN SCOPE OF THE MARKET RESTRICTIONS
The draft Regulations ban the supply, in the course of business, and the manufacture of:
- single-use plastic expanded polystyrene beverage cups
- single-use plastic expanded polystyrene beverage containers
- single-use plastic expanded polystyrene food containers
- single-use plastic cutlery
- single-use plastic plates (including trays and platters)
- single-use plastic beverage stirrers
- all oxo-degradable plastic products
A person/business who commits an offence of supplying or manufacturing such products would be liable up to £5,000 fine.
It is important to underline Scottish Government's ambition to exceed the EU requirements by applying market restrictions to single-use plastic bowls, trays and platters as well as plates but also, by considering additional single-use plastic items to apply market restrictions to.
For products to which targeted exemptions below apply, the manufacture of the items is not banned, and it is only the supply to the end-user which is an offence.
Exemptions for single-use plastic straws:
- Supply by catering establishments and pharmacies, provided the straws are out of customers sight and available upon request alongside drinks or food at no cost
- Supply in care homes, prisons, schools, and premises for early learning and childcare, day care or childminding
- Medical purposes exemption
- Supply of straws that are packaging (on the basis that straws can be used to package granular medicines)
Exemptions for balloon sticks are in relation to supply of sticks for attaching to balloons which have industrial or other professional uses, such as for weather balloons, in line with the requirements of the SUP Directive.
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND FURTHER EU GUIDANCE EXPECTED
The coming into force date is yet to be defined but the draft Regulations include transitional provisions lasting 3 months, which allow existing stock obtained before to be supplied for a 3-month period after the coming into force date.
Note that Scotland is still awaiting further detailed guidance and guidelines from the EU Commission what is to be considered a single-use plastic product for the purposes of the SUP Directive.
The Scottish Government will publish full and comprehensive impact assessments alongside the final Regulations, building upon evidence and information received throughout the consultation process.
CONSULTATION DEADLINE AND CALL FOR VIEWS
The official consultation deadline is 13 April 2021. BRC is inviting members to share their views on these draft regulations by 26 March. Please send your first comments to email@example.com