Single-use coffee cups banned from Scottish government buildings

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 30 May 2018

The Scottish government is to ban single-use coffee cups from its buildings. The ban will come into force on 4th June, when hot drinks will only be served in ceramic mugs for drinkers sitting in.

Coffee Cup
© Ross Varrette

These types of measures can’t come soon enough and need to be rolled out across the UK

Calum Duncan,
Head of Conservation Scotland

Staff have been told to bring their own reusable coffee cups for takeaway hot drinks in cafés and canteens at St Andrew’s House, Saughton House, Victoria Quay, Atlantic Quay, Marine Lab and Buchanan House restaurants and cafes.

Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “The Scottish government is determined to lead by example when it comes to tackling the scourge of plastic littering our countryside and polluting our seas.

“By removing single-use coffee cups from our main buildings, we will prevent 450,000 cups from being thrown away every year. That’s enough cups to cover the distance between Edinburgh and Dundee.”

Ms Cunningham said the government supports the EU’s vision to reduce single-use plastics as far as possible and ensure any single-use plastics are easily recyclable by 2030.

MCS Head of Conservation in Scotland, Calum Duncan, says it’s great news: “We now hope that other governments across the UK, local authorities, businesses, universities, schools and other institutions also voluntarily do so to be ahead of the curve of tighter regulations.

“We also welcome the expert panel that has been set up by the Scottish government to look at all single-use plastics, including the lids and linings of single-use coffee cups, and the recent commitments made by the Environment Secretary to track and meet EU targets for eliminating non-recyclable single-use plastic by 2030.

“83 ‘on-the-go’ items - which includes coffee cups along with stirrers, lids, cutlery and the like - were recorded for every 100m of beach surveyed in Scotland as part of our Great British Beach Clean 2017. That made up 17% of all litter found on Scottish beaches surveyed and 64% of all litter dropped by the public. So these types of measures can’t come soon enough and need to be rolled out across the UK.”

Earlier this year the Scottish parliament stopped using plastic drinking straws in its cafés, bars and canteens and announced a ban on the sale and manufacture of plastic stemmed cotton buds. The Environment Secretary has also asked environment ministers throughout the UK to come up with a coordinated bottle return scheme.

Actions you can take

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

Did you know?…

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be 6 times the size of the UK

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