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.

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.

It is important to note that the Regulations equally apply to plastic that is biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. Plastics that contain recycled material are also captured under the new legislation.

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.


The Scottish Regulations are subject to the UK Internal Market Act 2020 introduced by Westminster last year. This stipulates the 'mutual recognition principle', whereby any goods produced or imported via another part of the UK must be freely traded in any other part of the UK. Therefore, any single use plastic items produced or manufactured in Scotland will be covered by the new Regulations, but any single use plastic items produced elsewhere in the UK will be permitted on the Scottish market and subject to their own jurisdiction's legislation. In England, there is a currently a consultation to ban single use plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups and food and beverage containers. Therefore, items such as plastic straws, which will be banned from manufacture and supply under the Scottish Regulations may not be banned under the English regulations.

With less than four months to go until the new legislation comes into force, businesses should start to prepare and look at alternative options to single use plastic. Consumers should also start to prepare to see less of the items covered by the Regulations available. Building on the ban of plastic cotton buds introduced in 2019, the Scottish Government is continuing its commitment to regulating to reduce the use of single use plastics.