Scottish Government considering 25p fee for disposable cups
The Scottish Government is considering a proposal to charge consumers 20 to 25p for single-use disposable cups, after an expert panel found it would encourage more use of reusable alternatives.
The Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures found 200 million single-use disposable beverage cups were consumed each year in Scotland and “without intervention, this is projected to increase to 310 million by 2025”.
The panel recommended: “Scotland has a sustainable model of consumption by 2025 which includes the majority of beverages being sold in reusable cups.”
To achieve this, the panel said a “national, mandatory” requirement should be implemented to sell beverages and disposable cups separately. This could include an initial minimum price of between 20 to 25p per cup.
It also recommended the Scottish Government introduce a national consumption reduction target for single-use disposable beverage cups and ban the sale of non-recyclable expanded polystyrene/PVC beverage cups by 2021.
The disposable cup fee stems from a Scottish Greens proposal, which the Scottish Government agreed to in principle earlier this year as long as it received expert adviser backing.
Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman MSP said Scotland should “take the lead in tackling the scourge of pollution caused by single-use plastics” and urged ministers to “ensure this charge is rolled out urgently as hundreds of thousands of these cups are used every year.”
“That’s why we proposed measures to tackle this problem during budget negotiations earlier this year and I’m delighted that the expert panel has now backed our proposal to introduce a charge on throwaway cups,” he said.
“Plastic pollution has become a global environmental emergency. The mass consumption of single use plastics is threatening wildlife, littering our communities, contributing to climate change and placing enormous costs on local governments.”
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said reducing single use cups “must involve a joined-up effort across government, business, communities and individuals”.
“Disposable cups present an obvious littering issue, but there is ever-growing awareness within our society of the impact single-use plastic has on our wider environment,” she said.
“I am grateful to the expert panel for their thorough, evidence-based assessment of measures to reduce the consumption of single-use cups in Scotland.
“I will be giving the report’s findings my full consideration and will respond to the panel’s recommendations in due course.”
The expert panel’s chair Dame Sue Bruce said it had found “a myriad of factors” should be considered about the future of single-use cups.
“We have asked questions about what we can do together in Scotland – as consumers, communities, producers, retailers and government – to radically change our attitudes and our use of single-use items,” she said.
“Our conclusion is that there needs to be a fundamental move away from single-use disposable beverage cups and not just to an improved model for recycling.
“We have recommended a range of measures to achieve this - including charging separately for disposable cups and developing pilots to promote reusable cups.”