Experts back 'latte levy' in Scotland

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 18 July 2019

The first report by Scotland’s Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures has recommended a number of solutions to tackle the dependence on, and environmental impact of, single-use disposable beverage cups. The recommendations include a ‘latte levy’ of between 20-25p on each disposable cup.

Coffee Cup
© Ross Varrette

Action on coffee cups is essential if the Scottish Government wants to hold onto its position as a world leader in delivering a true circular economy where nothing is wasted or leaks out into our precious oceans

Catherine Gemmell,
MCS Scotland Conservation Officer

Chairwoman of the Panel, Dame Sue Bruce, wrote in the report ‘There needs to be a move away from single-use disposable beverage cups completely and not just to an improved model for recycling.’ MCS says it welcomes and agrees with her comments, and hopes to see the Scottish Government implement the recommendations made by the panel sooner rather than later.

MCS Scotland Conservation Officer, Catherine Gemmell, says: “To truly reverse and stop the plastic tide hitting our shores we need action at every level from behaviour change - to move away from unnecessary single use items like disposable coffee cups, to point of sale initiatives like charges, as well as throughout the supply chain from design to manufacture to recycling.

“Action on coffee cups is essential if the Scottish Government wants to hold onto its position as a world leader in delivering a true circular economy where nothing is wasted or leaks out into our precious oceans. We are hopeful that Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, will welcome these recommendations and MCS urges her to act upon them now.”

Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “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.

“The scale of the issue is (also) clear - as is the expert panel’s conclusion that no one measure alone will be effective: our approach to reducing single-cup use must involve a joined-up effort across government, business, communities and individuals.”

During 2018, some of our MCS Beachwatch volunteers in Scotland were finding as many as 13 coffee cups over some of the 100m stretches of beaches surveyed - whilst over a 150m stretch on one beach - 17 were found.

Scotland is due to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers made of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic - used in plastic drinks bottles - as well as glass bottle, and aluminium and steel cans.

Actions you can take

  1. Download our 'Living without single-use Plastic' guide
  2. Join the Plastic Challenge

Did you know?…

Healthy seas lock in carbon and help protect the planet from the devastating effects of climate change

It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces