21 October 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Scotland set to legislate single-use cup charge

The Scottish Government is planning to introduce a charge on single-use drinks cups.

The proposal will be included in the forthcoming Circular Economy Bill and follows a recommendation from the Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures (EPECOM) that a disposable cup levy be implemented. (see letsrecycle.com story)

If the legislation is passed by Holyrood, the level of charge will be subject to consultation and approval by parliament – EPECOM suggested a fee between 20p and 25p.

Recycling of single use coffee cups has become an increasing area of focus in recent years

Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s Environment Secretary, said: “The scale of the challenge is clear – an estimated 4,000 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 is why I am proposing further bold action to tackle Scotland’s reliance on single-use items.

She added: “I am clear, however – as is the Panel’s advice – that no single measure will be effective on its own. Our approach must involve a joined-up effort across government, business, communities and individuals.”

‘Proactive approach’

The legislation will also enable a charge to be introduced to other items “proven to cause environmental harm”, as well as disposable cups.

In a letter to Dame Sue Bruce, chair of EPECOM, Ms Cunningham said: “We will shortly be consulting on the Bill proposals, and will actively engage with stakeholders to help inform the development of any future charging regime, and help industry and retail to design and adopt a voluntary approach to charging in anticipation of the planned legislation.

“We will ban or restrict sales on items listed in the EU Single Use Plastic Directive, through bringing forward the relevant legislation to implement the Directive.”

Under the EU Single Use Plastics Directive selected disposable plastic products will be banned – including expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic, as well as specific items like cotton bud sticks, cutlery and sticks for balloons.

Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish government will also be publishing key evidence and case studies in relation to the disposable cups charge and

The EPECOM recommendations plan to ensure that the majority of hot drinks will be sold in reusable cups by 2025. Based on current usage, it is expected Scotland will use 310 million single-use cups per year by that time.



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