Friends of the Earth Scotland today welcomed the Scottish Government announcement that they will introduce a charge on single-use cups as part of the forthcoming Circular Economy Bill. Campaigners say it is an important step to cutting the enormous amount of waste generated by our throwaway society.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Plastic and Circular Economy Campaigner Sarah Moyes commented,
“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 overconsumption 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.”
“Scottish Government commitments so far to introduce a deposit and return scheme for bottles and cans, a ban on plastic cotton buds, and a phase out of non-recyclable plastics by 2030 put us on the right track.
“We urge the Scottish Government to use the forthcoming opportunity of the Circular Economy Bill to implement strong regulations that push manufacturers, retailers and consumers into saying goodbye to unnecessary plastics and making truly sustainable choices instead. ”

Earlier this year a group of Scottish NGOs urged all five parties at Holyrood to adopt a five point plan on waste and litter, including phasing out the use of single-use coffee cups entirely over the next five years.
The groups also called for:

  • an extension of the proposed Scottish ban on polystyrene and PVC cups so these materials are banned from all food packaging by 2021, in line with the EU’s Single Use Plastics Directive
  • a ban on all single-use plastic packaging and utensils used for catering, including those sold as biodegradable or compostable
  • require all remaining plastic food packaging sold in Scotland to be made from readily recyclable polymers by 2025
  • ban single-use plastic carrier bags of all thicknesses, charge at least 10p on bags made from all other materials, and create a minimum standard for bags sold for re-use.

Notes to Editors

200 million cups figure comes from the Scottish Government’s Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures (EPECOM) https://www.gov.scot/publications/report-expert-panel-environmental-charging-measures-epecom-recommendations-single-use-disposable-beverage-cups-july-2019/

A Circular Economy is one which keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use, and then recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of each service life.

Scotland’s ban on plastic cotton buds came into force on Saturday 12 Oct 2019 https://news.gov.scot/news/action-on-plastics

Green groups call for radical change on single use plastics August 2019 https://foe.scot/press-release/green-groups-call-for-radical-change-on-single-use-plastics/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.