Research to explore a charge on single-use cups in Scotland

19 July 2022

Research commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of Scottish Government will inform future policy decisions to address environmental issues of waste and plastic pollution associated with single-use cups.

The Scottish Government has committed to implementing the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, which includes achieving a reduction in the consumption of single-use plastic beverage cups.

Resource Futures work on single-use plastics includes research into the impacts of a potential ban in Wales and across the UK.

The project, which will run until October 2022, aims to support the development of a charge by exploring the impact it would have. The first stage of the work is to conduct a market assessment of single-use beverage cups and lids on the market in Scotland.

Resource Futures will then review the impact of a charge on plastic and all (plastic and non-plastic) single-use beverage cups. This work builds on EPECOM recommendations on how to tackle the impact of single-use beverage cups, and will review measures outside a charge that were proposed.

“We are pleased to support Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government in their ambitions to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic items. This is an exciting piece of work which will support Scotland in adopting a sustainable model of beverage cup consumption, drawing on expertise from key stakeholders and best practice international experience.”

George Cole, Head of UK Policy and Circular Economy, Resource Futures

Over the summer, we will speak with individuals who manufacture, supply, and sell single-use beverage cups in Scotland to understand the market. The information gathered will feed into work to understand how a charge will impact the consumption of beverage cups in Scotland.

This project is one example of several commitments made by Scottish Government to tackle Scotland’s throw away culture and reduce the use of single-use plastic items.

On 1 June 2022, Scotland implemented a ban on many of the most problematic single-use plastics, including plastic cutlery, plates, and stirrers. Resource Futures’ previous work in the area of plastic includes assessing the impacts of a potential single-use plastics ban in Wales and the UK.

Stay informed

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest insights in resources, waste management and the circular economy