More than half of Scots would support new financial penalties similar to the carrier bag charge in order to help reduce dependence on single-use plastic, according to a new survey.
The poll by YouGov of 1,004 adults across Scotland, including 141 residents of the north-east, found 66% of participants were so concerned about plastic pollution they would back new measures to cut down on throwaway plastics like water bottles and coffee cups.
The Scottish Government estimates Scots use 300 million plastic straws a year, 276 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 50 million plastic plates, and 66 million polystyrene food containers.
Research, which was carried out for Zero Waste Scotland, asked participants if they would be in favour of a move to add an extra fee to items containing one-use plastic.
Zero Waste Scotland’s chief executive, Iain Gulland, said: “It is clear from these results that people are worried about the impact single-use plastic items have on our environment.
“These items can last for decades and the damage they can cause to wildlife is shocking.
“We have to find ways to cut down the stream of items we are sending into what should be pristine habitats.”
The YouGov survey comes after the launch of a Scottish Government consultation on new legislation to reduce Scotland’s reliance on common single-use plastic items.
The government is looking for people’s views on new laws to restrict the sale or commercial supply of plastic plates, straws, cutlery, polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic balloon sticks and other products.
Such items, according to the EU Single Plastics Directive, were found to be among the most commonly found washed up on European beaches and contributed the majority share of litter found in the sea.
Catherine Gemmell of the Marine Conservation Society said: “Our volunteers have been on the frontline dealing with single-use plastic and other litter washing up on beaches around Scotland for over two decades. We have to stop single-use plastic at its source.”
The Scottish Government’s Single-Use Plastic Directive Consultation closes on January 4.
To take part, visit www.consult.gov.scot.