Scottish Parliament bans plastic drinking straws

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 2 February 2018

Plastic drinking straws will no longer be handed out in the Scottish Parliament cafes, bar and canteen after the decision to switch to paper alternatives was made by Holyrood’s Parliamentary Corporate Body.

KD_KF Straw ban Scotland
© Scottish Parliament Corporate Body

Whilst I’m campaigning for public bodies and businesses to ditch plastic straws, it’s important I start close to home and so I’m delighted that the Scottish Parliament has stopped stocking plastic straws and will only give out a biodegradable alternative when requested.

Kate Forbes MSP,
Plastic Straw Free Scotland Campaign

Kezia Dugdale MSP, a member of the corporate body said the move was “part of a bigger picture” to protect the environment.

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes has been running a campaign, backed by MCS for a “plastic straw free Scotland”. Holyrood has already switched to fully compostable cups and lids for takeaway coffees and compostable food boxes and single-use cutlery.

Across the UK, a growing number of organisations and institutions have stopped handing out plastic straws amid concerns over the vast amounts of plastic waste washing up on beaches and swilling around in the ocean posing a threat to wildlife and habitats.

Weatherspoon’s, All Bar One, Glasgow City Council, Wagamama, Pret a Manger and Costa have all either stopped or are planning to stop offering plastic straws to customers, whilst Waitrose and Morrisons have said they will stop selling them.

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer said: “Single use plastic straws have been a hot topic in Scotland over the past couple of months thanks to campaigning by Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow and their #NaeStrawAtAw campaign and the MCS backed ‘Final Straw Scotland’ campaign launched by MSP Kate Forbes in January.

“With calls out to Westminster to become a plastic free parliament - Holyrood is already showing how it can be done!”

Kate Forbes said: “Whilst I’m campaigning for public bodies and businesses to ditch plastic straws, it’s important I start close to home and so I’m delighted that the Scottish Parliament has stopped stocking plastic straws and will only give out a biodegradable alternative when requested.

“The Scottish Parliament has long lead the way on environmental initiatives, and this is obviously another way in which it is striving to improve what it does.”

“Our volunteers know that it’s not just plastic straws we find on our beaches but cups, cutlery and trays so lets see if the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government can get behind our #STOPtheplastictide appeal and reduce all of these single use items across the country for the benefit of our seas and beaches,” said Catherine Gemmell.

Actions you can take

  1. Help us stop the plastic tide
  2. Find out more about Scottish Wildlife
  3. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017
  4. Browse Scotland's Marine Atlas

Did you know?…

Scotland has 10% of Europe’s coastline

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We removed 568,000 pieces of litter from our coasts in one year