Scottish government-funded organisation Zero Waste Scotland is delivering 14 projects with community and business partners over the next year in order to find eco-friendly alternatives to single-use packaging. Scottish organisations will be taking part in Zero Waste Scotland’s £1m scheme, which will include deposit return scheme for reusable coffee cups and a charge for disposable cups across Scotland as part of ‘the ditching disposables project’.

The scheme is supported and funded by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will see areas of Scotland including Glasgow and Edinburgh testing alternatives to single-use products, such as reusable packaging.

The projects announced today include Glasgow Connect Community Hub removing single-use water bottles from sale, Edinburgh independent cafés and restaurants piloting a deposit-return coffee cup scheme, and the Fringe by the Sea festival in North Berwick reducing consumption of single-use items like cups and bottles.

Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, Iain Gulland said: “We know single-use items are blighting communities across Scotland and it is something we are determined to tackle. Some of these are only used for a matter of minutes yet can hang around our environment for years. We are working with communities to see what can be done to solve issues they have identified.

“Four-fifths of our carbon footprint as a nation comes from the products and materials we consume. That’s a huge proportion, and single-use items are an entirely unnecessary part of that. Curbing our consumption habit is vital if we want to have a real impact on the climate emergency, so it’s fantastic to have so many organisations right across Scotland on board to look at what we can change to pioneer an alternative approach.”

The projects follow last year’s collaboration between Zero Waste Scotland and NHS Ayrshire & Arran which enforced a charge 10p for disposable cups at a canteen in the University Hospital Crosshouse, Kilmarnock. This action saw an increase in coffee cup reuse from 1% to half of all hot drink sales.