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Scotland has become the first part of the UK to implement a ban single-use plastics, as legislation came into force on 1 June.

The ban means it will be an offence for businesses in Scotland to provide the items – which include plastic cutlery, plates and stirrers.

The regulations come into force following a six-month grace period, during which Zero Waste Scotland ran a business campaign to raise awareness on how to prepare.

Around 700 million of these single-use items are currently used in Scotland every year.

The legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament during COP26 last year includes exemptions for single-use plastic straws to make sure that those who need them for independent living or medical purposes can still access them.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said:“By banning some of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland, we are turning our promises into action. Every year, hundreds of millions of single-use plastic are wasted, with many of them littering our beaches, waters and parks. This ban will encourage businesses to make the switch to reusable alternatives, helping to reduce litter and cut emissions.