New plastics clampdown

Latte tax aims to reduce single-use coffee cup waste

Edinburgh airport recycling

Initiatives like this one at Edinburgh Airport aim to tackle single-use cup waste

Single-use drinks cup will be taxed under a new clampdown on plastic waste announced by the Scottish Government

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has confirmed that proposals for a so-called “latte tax” will be included in the forthcoming Circular Economy Bill.

The level of tax has not yet been announced but is likely to be similar to the carrier bag charge, and will be applied in the future to other items proven to cause environmental harm.

It is one of a range of measures to cut down on the estimated 310 million single-use cups that will be used in the country by 2025.

It is hoped that the majority of hot drinks will be sold in reusable cups by that date.

Ms Cunningham said: “The scale of the challenge is clear – an estimated 4,000 tonnes of waste is generated by single-use cups each year, wasting valuable raw materials and generating unnecessary CO2 emissions in the process.

“For Scotland to become a net zero society, we need a fundamental re-think about how we use and reuse materials and how we handle waste. That is why I am proposing further bold action to tackle Scotland’s reliance on single-use items.

“I am clear, however – as is the Panel’s advice – that no single measure will be effective on its own. Our approach must involve a joined-up effort across government, business, communities and individuals.

Whether it is making the decision to switch from disposable to re-usable cups or making sure cups are dealt with more effectively at the end of their life, we all need to do more to support a more circular economy and reduce our environmental impact.

“We are taking forward a range of other recommendations made by the panel, to support the cultural and behaviour change that will be required to truly tackle our throwaway culture.”


The Report of the Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures: Recommendations on Single-use Disposable Beverage Cups was published on 17 July 2019. The Panel recommended a minimum charge of 20-25p per cup.

The Environment Secretary’s response to the expert panel report was published on 18 October 2019.

Further information about the expert panel, including its membership and remit, is available on the Scottish Government website.

The government will shortly consult on the draft proposals for inclusion in the new Circular Economy Bill, bringing forward this legislation in the coming year

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.