Charges to be introduced for single-use cups

Charges will be introduced for the use of disposable drinks cups.
Charges will be introduced for the use of disposable drinks cups.

Plans are being brought forward for a charge to be applied on single-use drinks cups.

The Scottish Government wants to introduce legislation to help tackle reliance on single-use items, such as disposable coffee cups.

Should the legislation be passed, the level of the charge will be subject to consultation and approval by parliament.

This legislation would also enable a charge, similar to the carrier bag charge, to be applied in the future to other items proven to cause environmental harm.

This is one of a range of measures that will be implemented in response to the findings of an expert panel set up to advise on how Scotland can tackle the number of single-use cups used in the country – which is estimated based on current usage to reach 310 million a year by 2025.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The scale of the challenge is clear – an estimated 4000 tonnes of waste is generated by single-use cups each year, wasting valuable raw materials and generating unnecessary CO2 emissions in the process.

“For Scotland to become a net zero society, we need a fundamental re-think about how we use and reuse materials and how we handle waste.

“That’s why I am proposing further bold action to tackle our reliance on single-use items.”

She added: “Whether it is making the decision to switch from disposable to re-usable cups or making sure cups are dealt with more effectively at the end of their life, we all need to do more to support a more circular economy and reduce our environmental impact.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s plan to introduce a charge on single-use cups.

Sarah Moyes, Friends of the Earth Scotland plastic and circular economy campaigner, said: “Single-use disposable drinks cups are a major source of plastic pollution with around 200 million being used in Scotland each year.

“Whilst changing individual behaviours like remembering your reusable cup is important, we’re pleased to see this commitment from the Scottish Government that will really cut down our vast over-consumption of single-use items.

“Charging people for cups helps people to consider the full environmental costs of our throwaway society.

“We can see the devastating impact of plastic all around us and it’s vital that we start to change our attitude towards single-use items and move towards a circular economy that will reduce our reliance on the planet’s resources.”