Plastic straws are to be removed from all Aberdeenshire schools in a landmark move to reduce the amount of waste and protect the local environment.
Loose straws, most commonly found attached to cartons of milk, will be replaced by compostable ones.
Following a written submission by Mearns Councillor Leigh Wilson, the move was confirmed, and a wider strategy put in place to look more generally at the use of plastic in schools.
Councillor Wilson said: “Anyone who has attended a beach clean recently knows only too well the colossal issue there is of plastics polluting our landscape.
“We are fortunate in the Mearns to have a beautiful coastline with wonderful beaches in Bervie and St Cyrus, so it is important that all of us ensure they are kept as clean as possible.
“More than that though, we also have a responsibility to both and sea life and wildlife, so must take necessary measures to keep them safe.”
He added: “Plastic straws are entirely unnecessary, and more people are recognising that there are perfectly legitimate alternatives to use instead.
“This is something I have been campaigning on for a while, so I am heartened to see Aberdeenshire Council take this step, and hopefully it will be a catalyst for further progress.”
Nationally, the Scottish Government has announced a deposit return scheme for used drinks cans and bottles in Scotland, with the intention of promoting greater recycling and a more sustainable way of dealing with waste.
Alistair Reid, of the council’s economic development team, said: “Loose plastic straws have been withdrawn and replaced with compostable ones.
“There may be a few tetra packs in stock containing juice or milk which still have plastic straws attached, but catering services has worked with suppliers and such packs are no longer being purchased.”