Big Plastic Count

– in the Scottish Parliament on 19th May 2022.

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Photo of Maurice Golden Maurice Golden Conservative

3. To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government is supporting households, communities and businesses to take part in the Big Plastic Count. (S6F-01111)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

It is good that people across the country are helping to draw awareness to plastic waste as part of the Big Plastic Count. It is important to lead by example and make our actions count in tackling plastic waste. That is why we have laid before Parliament regulations that ban some of the most problematic single-use plastic products; it is why we are bringing in the deposit scheme from August next year; and it is why we are introducing extended producer responsibility for packaging. Those measures will help transition Scotland to a circular economy and will significantly reduce the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.

Photo of Maurice Golden Maurice Golden Conservative

The Big Plastic Count is an opportunity to better understand the scale of plastic pollution in Scotland. We know that just 2 per cent of plastic waste that is collected for recycling in Scotland is recycled here. That is why I have long called for a new plastic recycling centre, ideally located in Dundee.

Last November, the First Minister agreed to consider supporting that suggestion. Will she provide an update on what progress has been made on that, and on what locations are being considered?

The First Minister:

I will ask the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity to send a detailed update on that specific point, but I agree with the member on the importance of the issue and taking action to reduce plastic waste. For example, with regard to recycling rates, waste and resources sector emissions in 2009 were more than 30 per cent lower than they were in 2011, and 73 per cent lower than they were in 1998. However, there is much more work to do, which is why all the actions that I set out in my original answer are important.

I believe that there is a considerable amount of consensus across the chamber on the need to take action and on the specific measures that we are taking. We will continue to ensure that our efforts are commensurate with the scale of the challenge.