Latte levy set to be introduced

Disposable coffee cup

A charge of 20p per cup is set to be introduced by new Scottish Government legislation

18th October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Scotland has moved closer to introducing a “latte levy”.

A charge of 20p for single-use drinks cups is set to be brought forward in the Scottish Government's Circular Economy Bill, with the level of the charge to be set following a consultation and approval by Holyrood.

If passed, the charge could then in future be applied 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.

The panel’s recommendations, published in July, are based on a vision that the majority of hot drinks will be sold in reusable cups by that date.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham 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.

“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. 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.

“We are taking forward a range of other recommendations made by the panel, to support the cultural and behaviour change that will be required to truly tackle our throwaway culture.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland plastic and circular economy campaigner Sarah Moyes welcomed the plans.

She 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 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.”