Zero Waste Scotland reveals 208 million disposable cups tossed away each year as petition calling for law to make them biodegradable hits Holyrood

A CALL for a new law to make all single use cups 100% biodegradable will go before the Scottish Parliament today.

The Public Petitions Committee will consider a submission urging ministers to introduce legislation requiring all such drinks cups including sleeves, labels and lids, to be covered to help prevent environmental damage.

Lodged in February by campaigner Michael Traill, Petition PE01636, asks ministers to consider bringing in the new law.

It states:

Every year the UK gets through billions of single use drinks cups, the type used by coffee chains and takeaway outlets. Not all are recyclable.
Every day single use drinks cups are sent to landfill in their hundreds of thousands, only around 1 in every 400 is recycled.
Many such cups end up littering our parks & greenspaces.
By requiring that all single use drinks cups, as well as their lids, labels & sleeves are 100% biodegradable we can ensure that their negative impact upon our planet is reduced. Recycling only works when people actually do it. Requiring packaging such as this to be 100% biodegradable will make a tangible difference to the environment in Scotland where discarded single use drinks cups can be seen littering our country.


In March this year the Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, COSLA, Vegware, Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, Association for Organic Recycling, Environmental Paper Network, Hubbub, and Keep Scotland Beautiful for their views.


They followed up in June by referring the petition to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee to be considered further.

As part of evidence being gathered for the meeting, Zero Waste Scotland has revealed around 208 million disposable coffee cups alone are thrown away in Scotland.

They estimate that accounts for around 3000 tonnes of waste.

However they suggest promoting reuse would be preferable to any change.

Similarly Keep Scotland Beautiful says encouraging reuse and reduction would be more effective.

However Vegware, who make eco friendly products, said: … “ compostable packaging provides the only genuine solution to zero-to-landfill in foodservice.”

The committee will consider the petition today.

Want to learn more? Read: PE01636: Require that all single use drinks cups are 100% biodegradable

Image credits: Cups cc Meineresterampe; Stocksnap

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