The use of plastic straws was banned in the Scottish Parliament this month and, according to Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, the ban could be extended to the rest of the country by the end of 2019.

In an interview with the Sunday Mail, Cunningham urged businesses to phase out plastic straws before it becomes enshrined in law.

“Legislation can’t be achieved overnight, which is why I don’t want to discourage people from action,” she said.

“I would strongly encourage the big manufacturers of straws that the writing is on the wall and they need to be thinking about alternatives now.”

Last month, Scotland unveiled plans to become the first UK country to ban the sale and manufacture of plastic stemmed cotton buds.

Cunningham told the Sunday Mail that she wanted to ban plastic straws at the same time. But legislation would have had implications for jobs at Scottish plastic straw producers, Cunningham admitted.

God save our seas  

In recent weeks, a ban on plastic straws has been declared by many across the corporate sphere, including the likes of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, London City Airport, Costa, Asda and Eurostar.  

The war on plastic waste has even been taken up by the Royal Family. Earlier this week, new measures were introduced at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, which will see internal caterers only allowed to use china plates and glasses, or recyclable paper cups.

Takeaway food items in the Royal Collection cares will also need to be made of compostable or biodegradable packaging.

“Across the organisation, the Royal Household is committed to reducing its environmental impact,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

It is understood that the Queen has become personally involved in the plastics waste issue after working with Sir David Attenborough on a conservation documentary dealing with wildlife in the Commonwealth.

The case against plastics in the ocean was illustrated by Attenborough in the recent BBC series Blue Planet II.

George Ogleby

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