Scottish Parliament bans use of plastic drinking straws

The Scottish Parliament has banned plastic straws to help protect the environment.

Until the end of 2017, about 4,000 plastic straws a year were being used in the building but now only paper straws will be provided on request.

The switch comes amid rising concern about the impact of plastic waste on the environment and follows bans elsewhere in Scotland including at Glasgow City Council.

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Labour’s Kezia Dugdale, who sits on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, which is responsible for running Holyrood said: “The Parliament wasn’t a big consumer of plastic straws but switching to a paper version was a no-brainer.

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“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 cafe, 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.”

The parliament already provides environmentally-friendly takeaway containers, cups and cutlery.

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

SNP MSP Kate Forbes, who has been leading the Final Straw campaign for an end to plastic straws, said she hoped other organisations would follow suit.

She said: “The Scottish Parliament has long led the way on environmental initiatives and this is obviously another way in which it is striving to drive change.

“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.

“If the Scottish Parliament can do this, then I hope it encourages more councils and other public bodies to follow suit.”