Fight Plastic Pollution With Coffee Cup Levy

The Scottish Greens today (21 Feb) urged Scottish Ministers to set a 25p-per-cup levy on disposable coffee cups to end the "scourge" of plastic pollution.

As part of the Green budget deal for 2019/20, ministers agreed to consider charging to reduce single use disposable drinks cups, with a commitment to bring forward legislation within the next year.

Today the Greens published an action plan to ban pointless plastics such as straws, cutlery and cotton buds, and to phase out disposable cups by 2025 using a combination of levies and public education.

The plan proposes a 25p-per-cup levy, rising by 5p a year until 2025. This could raise between £50m and £200m a year for local councils who are battling plastic pollution but this would reduce to zero as usage declines.

The Greens want the charge to be implemented as a tax but this would require UK Government approval. The Scottish Government could instead opt to use existing powers to introduce a levy based on the plastic bag charge.

Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"The UK Government failed to introduce its much-hyped coffee cup tax, so Scotland has a chance to lead the way and show we are serious about tackling the scourge of plastic pollution. Being a leader on this issue is not only the right thing to do but it will create opportunities for innovative Scottish businesses to develop sustainable alternatives.

"Plastic pollution has become an environmental emergency in Scotland and around the world. It threatens wildlife, litters our beaches and cities, contributes to climate change and places enormous costs on local councils.

"We have already seen great success with the 5p levy on single-use carrier bags reducing their use by 80 per cent in the first year. Bold action on other plastics is clearly required."