top of page

Scotland becomes first part of UK to ban sale of plastic cotton buds

Scotland has become the first part of the UK to ban the sale of plastic cotton buds.

The new rules, which prohibit the selling and manufacturing of plastic cotton buds, have been introduced to reduce plastic waste.

Environmental campaigners the Marine Conservative Society, whose volunteers have cleared more than 150,000 plastic cotton bud sticks from Scottish beaches over the last 25 years, have hailed the move as a "fantastic win" for the sea and wildlife.

Catherine Gemmel from the group said: "We look forward to more ambitious action from the Scottish government and to working with them on further actions needed to stop the plastic tide."

The Scottish parliament took the decision to ban plastic cotton buds back in September - a ban on the sale and manufacturing of plastic microbeads has been in place since June 2018.


Scotland's environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham called single-use products such as the cotton buds "wasteful" and that they were a blight in green spaces and on beaches.

"We will continue to take action on other problematic items in the coming years as part of our efforts to reduce harmful plastics and single-use items, protect our environment and develop a thriving circular economy.

"We are facing a global climate emergency and must all work together to reduce, reuse and recycle to ensure a sustainable future for the current and next generation," she added.

Lang Banks, WWF Scotland director, called the ban "great news for wildlife".

"We know plastic is suffocating our seas and devastating our wildlife with millions of birds, fish and mammals dying each year because of the plastic in our oceans.

"Plastics are also finding their way into the food we eat and the water we drink so saving our oceans will require further ambitious action from governments, industry and consumers."


bottom of page