Scottish Parliament bans single-use coffee cups

Disposable coffee cups are set to be banned from the Scottish Parliament's main buildings next week in a bid to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste from its operations.

From June 4, all hot drinks purchased in St Andrew’s House, Saughton House, Victoria Quay, Atlantic Quay, Marine Lab and Buchanan House restaurants and cafes will be served in reusable ceramic mugs in a move that Ministers claim will see 450,000 cups diverted from landfill every year.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said Holyrood is now considering which other single-use items can be reduced or removed from the nation’s parliamentary buildings before the end of 2018.

“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,” Cunningham said. “Our newly appointed expert panel is considering what further action we can take to fight against our throwaway culture, and this will include looking at disposable cups and plastic straws and considering any potential implications for disabled people.”

The panel is made up of experts from the retail, waste and chemical industries, as well as academics and public sector specialists.

The last straw

The latest move from Scottish Parliament follows on from the plastic straw ban it implemented in its own cafes, bar and canteens in February – a move which will divert 4,000 straws from landfill annually.

It also comes in the same month that Parliament announced its goal to “virtually eliminate” single-use plastics from its internal operations by 2019, by taking measures such as phasing out sauce sachets, banning the sale of single-use water bottles and introducing a “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups.

Further moves for summer 2018 include a ban on the sale of plastic bottles of mineral water, which Parliament claims will remove 125,000 bottles from its annual waste, and the substitution of plastic cutlery and coffee cup lids with compostable alternatives.

Sarah George

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