Zero Waste Scotland launches scheme to ditch single-use items

Written by: Maddie Ballard | Published:
Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland

Zero Waste Scotland has launched a project to help community organisations trial alternatives to single-use products over the next year.

The £1m Ditching Disposables project, which is supported by the Scottish government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), consists of 14 pilot projects across Scotland.

These projects will support a number of actions to reduce single-use item consumption – particularly a deposit return scheme for reusable coffee cups and charging for disposable cups, in tandem.

Other initiatives supported by the projects include removing single-use water bottles from sale and installing water fountains and cordial dispensers, and trialling a reusable community event kit featuring items such as cups.

The projects were announced following the success of a closed pilot between Zero Waste Scotland and NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

Under this pilot, reusable coffee cups and a 10p charge for disposable cups were introduced in the canteen at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock, and recycling provisions and signage were improved.

The reuse rate for coffee cups increased from 1% to nearly half of all hot drink sales, while the number of disposable cups consumed dropped by 157 per day.

Ditching Disposables aims to replicate this improvement on a wider scale.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, 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.”

Ditching Disposables is part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which will invest £73m in circular economy and resource efficiency projects with support from the ERDF.

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