Scottish Parliament bans plastic drinking straws

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 2 February 2018 in News

With Parliament using around 4,000 plastic straws a year until the end of 2017, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body decided to switch to paper straws

Image credit: Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament has banned plastic drinking straws as part of efforts to reduce consumption of single use plastics.

With the Parliament using around 4,000 plastic straws a year until the end of 2017, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body decided to switch to paper straws, which will be handed out on request.

Kezia Dugdale, one of the MSPs on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, said: “The Parliament wasn’t a big consumer of plastic straws but switching to a paper version was a no brainer. 

“When staff approached our supplier at the start of the year for an alternative to plastic, we discovered they could just as easily provide paper straws for pretty much the same cost.

“In our public café, some people need straws, especially those with young children, but we make a point of having them available on request rather than simply offer them up to temptation. We’ve all taken a plastic straw before just because we fancied one.

“These are pretty small changes to make, but it’s part of a bigger picture in thinking about our actions and protecting our environment.”

In 2011 the Parliament switched to fully compostable cups and lids for takeaway coffees after an in-house audit identified that much of the Parliament’s landfill waste was disposable coffee cups.

As at March 2017, 89 per cent of the Parliament’s waste material was either recycled or composted.

Kate Forbes, who has been trying to reduce use of plastics through the Final Straw campaign, said she hoped the change would encourage other public bodies to follow suit.

She 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.

“I give full credit to the catering team and Sir Paul Grice, chief executive, for their rapid response to my letter asking them to consider ditching plastic straws.”

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