“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.” Roughly translated for the Sassenach, Robbie Burns famous line suggests human plans don’t always work out.
But the Scottish government’s 2022 ban on single-use plastics in catering and hospitality might just be an example of that rare occasion when they do.
And the UK government’s own English ban on the sale of plastic cutlery, plates, trays, bowls and so on, comes into law this October. So, what can Scottish companies teach their English counterparts?
Two that have seized the opportunity are Vegware and Brewdog.
Established by Joe Frankel in 2006, Edinburgh-based Vegware is a packaging company that specialises in providing compostable and plant-based alternatives to single-use plastics. It was perfectly positioned to respond to the Scots’ legislation.
Already a Sunday Times Fast Track 100 company, Vegware has played a key role in helping Scottish businesses enthusiastically adopt packaging that uses alternatives like corn-starch, and bagasse (sugarcane pulp).
As for Brewdog, the Aberdeenshire brewer always seems to be one step ahead of the curve. According to its website, the company was already aiming for “zero operational emissions by 2023.” Part of that commitment was the 2020 purchase of “a 9,308-acre plot of land in the Scottish Highlands. Why? Simple. To create a native, bio-diverse broadleaf woodland, pull carbon from our atmosphere… and help save our planet.”
So, it’s safe to assume, CEO James Watt saw the Scottish legislation not as a threat but an opportunity.
Ellon’s finest craft beer-maker has now taken significant steps to reduce single-use plastics in all its operations. As well as introducing reusable and refillable beer ‘growlers ‘in its bars and taprooms. And replacing plastic six-pack rings with eco-friendly alternatives.
Just like plans, the best-laid business, and legislative strategies often “gang aft agley.” Not this time, though. As Vegware and Brewdog are proving.