Scotland’s Consideration Of Coffee Cup Levy Shows “Leadership”

Scotland’s willingness to consider a five pence levy of disposable coffee cups shows an “encouraging and progressive leadership in reducing waste and litter,” waste management company SUEZ has said.

Zero Waste Scotland yesterday launched a nationwide initiative calling on businesses, local authorities and other organisations to help cut the cost of litter clean-up and join forces to prevent it from happening in their communities.

According to reports by The Times, a spokeswoman for the Scottish government said that ministers were keen to embrace “innovative ideas” to tackle waste and this could include a 5p levy on every disposable coffee cup bought in Scotland.

A coffee-cup tax is likely to be debated at the SNP conference this year, the newspaper said.

“With 2.5bn thrown away annually, coffee cups are a very visible symbol of our throwaway consumer society”

David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “We welcome the Scottish government’s consideration of a five pence levy on disposable coffee cups, which, although at a very early stage, shows encouraging and progressive leadership in reducing waste and litter.

“Following the implementation of the single use plastic bag charge, reports from seven major UK retailers show that they issued 83% fewer bags in 2016/17 compared to the calendar year 2014, according to Defra. This is evidence of the potential of such initiatives to positively change both consumer and, consequently, producer behaviour.

“With 2.5bn thrown away annually, coffee cups are a very visible symbol of our throwaway consumer society. If we, as consumers, are to shrink the volume of waste we produce, we must appreciate the value of the resources used in the products we buy, as well as their impact on the environment once discarded.

“However, although tackling these more obvious single sources of waste is a step in the right direction, in order to affect real change at scale, we believe a more extensive policy approach, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), is required – not the piecemeal approach which is driven, in the main, by the media.”

In related news, the Scottish and Welsh environment ministers pledged to work together to “resist the UK Government’s attempt to take control of devolved powers”.

Environment Minster Roseanna Cunningham met her Welsh counterpart Lesley Griffiths in Cardiff recently to discuss their concerns that the EU Withdrawal Bill will damage efforts to protect and enhance the environment.

Ms Cunningham outlined her fears that areas such as climate change and the circular economy will suffer if UK-wide policies are imposed rather than negotiated.

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