It's the final straw - MSP campaigns for end to single-use plastics
14 January 2018, 07:37
A politician has urged public bodies and companies to crack down on plastic straws and other single-use plastics to save the environment.
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, is seeking commitments from rail company ScotRail and ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne.
She has also written to Scotland's National Galleries and National Museums for similar action in their public cafes, and has also called for action in catering and canteen facilities by other public bodies and agencies.
The SNP member has launched a "final straw" campaign, asking businesses and consumers to stop using disposable plastic straws and for governments to ban their use.
Ms Forbes has asked companies to go "straw-free" by not automatically providing plastic straws with drinks and providing paper or biodegradable straws when requested.
She said: "Most of us don't need plastic straws in our drinks and yet in Scotland we throw away a staggering three billion each year. They're choking our seas and damaging our environment.
"As consumers, we should all try hard to change our habits, politicians should listen up and take action, and pubs, restaurants and cafes shouldn't be offering customers unnecessary plastic straws as a matter of course.
"It's quite simple - if you don't need a straw in your drink, then don't use one.
"Of course, some people have particular needs which mean they require a straw with their drink.
"For them, there should always be biodegradable options available."
The Scottish Government on Thursday announced the sale and manufacture of plastic cotton buds is to be outlawed in Scotland.
It is estimated around three billion plastic straws are thrown away each year in Scotland, proving a "significant pollutant" in the seas and a risk to wildlife.
Ms Forbes added: "On trains and ferries connecting our communities, we can go without a plastic straw in our drinks.
"People working in the public sector can get through a lunch break without a plastic straw in their drink from the staff canteen.
"And in the cafes in Scotland's world-class museums and galleries, we can showcase to international visitors that Scotland is serious when it comes to protecting our environment.
"This is a great chance for our public sector to lead by example, to change the way a nation thinks about disposable plastics and our responsibilities."