New rules have come into force banning businesses in Scotland from providing single use plastic items such as cutlery, plates and stirrers.
Polystyrene food containers and cups are also covered by the new ban as well as plastic straws and balloon sticks.
The Scottish government said it was the first part of the UK to ban many
“problematic” single-use plastics.
It estimated about 700 million of these single-use items are currently used in Scotland every year.
The ban applies to: plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks); plastic plates; plastic straws; plastic beverage stirrers; plastic balloon sticks; food containers made of expanded polystyrene; and cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids.
All the restrictions apply to both online and in-store sales, whether they are free or
Enforcement will be the responsibility of local authorities and failure to comply with the regulations carries a maximum fine of £5,000.
The legislation includes exemptions for single-use plastic straws, for those who need them for independent living or medical purposes.
Currently, the regulations will only apply to products manufactured in or imported directly into Scotland from outside the UK.
In theory businesses could still get their plastic products from other parts of the UK due to the Internal Market Act but this will change in the coming months.
The UK government has said it will exclude the products covered by the ban from the Act but the move will take some time to complete its parliamentary progress.
Plans for a similar ban have been announced in England as part of what it calls a “war on plastic”.