- A decade and a half of environmental legislation
- It's never too early to learn about the climate emergency
- Our strategy to inspire action for our environment
- FARE Lochend - Where good news is standard
- Glashieburn's LEAF journey
- An Interview with Travel Influencer Chris Lawlor
- Climate action with hope and optimism
- The Big River Irvine Riverbank Clean
- Eating nettles and gazing at clouds: a LEAF reflection
- #TakeItBack to the start
- Dalry Primary School's LEAF journey
- Pedalling towards a sustainable future
- Chirnside Primary School's LEAF journey
- Flowerbank Early Childhood Centre's Pocket Garden Experience
- To keep Scotland beautiful we all need to take action
- Applegarth and Hutton’s LEAF journey
- Our hope for a nature positive Scotland
- Becoming a Platinum Carbon Literate Organisation
- Volunteering with KSB and loving every minute
- We are all accountable for our actions
- Hillhead students talk keeping Kelvingrove Park beautiful
- Get to know...John MacLennan
- Get to know...Sandy Scott
- How Eco-Schools benefits pupils, teachers and communities
- Community gardening for climate, nature and heritage in Cumbernauld
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
- Getting to know... Tom Brock OBE
- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Data drives decisions
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
- It's only one
- Why join the family of It’s Your Neighbourhood?
- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
- Litter picking - a surprisingly fun group activity
- Climate Action Skills and positive action for all
- Seeing community groups thrive with Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood
- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
- Scottish Book Trust representative joins Pocket Garden judging panel
- Have #YourSayOnLitter - we plan to...
- Everyone has something to say about litter – time to make it count
- Who ya gonna call?
- Why I pick up other people's garbage.
- Getting to Know...Colin
- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
- Caring for our planet
- Football’s Power to Combat Climate Change
- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
- What’s litter got to do with climate change?
- Scotland’s Climate Festival kicks off in Falkirk
- Responsible Tourism – an opportunity not to be missed
- Climate Change Vlog by Dalry Primary School
- Failing our future?
- Our Week of Climate Action
- #ScotClimateWeek - our impacts and actions
- Protecting the sand and sea
- Another fine mess – part one
- Designing a lower carbon Scotland
- Getting to know... Lisa Snedden
- Combating climate change with information, education and training
- Litter picking 500 miles was always Gonna Be easy
- 7K for 7 Flags Challenge
- Littering less at St Joseph's Primary School in Glasgow
- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Keeping our communities beautiful
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
Imagine borrowing a cup from the business selling you your favourite hot drink. Imagine being able to enjoy the product, go about your day, and then return the cup to the same or another location to be washed, and lent to someone else. Imagine the journey that cup may have. Imagine.
We did. We imagined an innovative new reusable cup scheme, developed in partnership with local businesses selling takeaway drinks. And, that vision is now alive. In April we launched Cup Movement® in the Highlands – a pilot scheme making it easier for people to choose a reusable cup.
As a country we face massive challenges. There is a twin climate and nature crisis, and we recently declared a litter emergency. Buying and using too much – our unsustainable consumption - is one of the primary drivers of the challenges we face. What we consume accounts for 80% of Scotland’s carbon footprint and single-use cups have become a bit of a poster child for our disposable habits. We need solutions to help tackle this that create a more circular economy where resources and materials are reused, repurposed or recycled rather than being used only once.
Around 200 million single-use cups are used and discarded each year in Scotland. Only 4% of these are recycled. Yet we know from our research that 90% of people are concerned about the environmental impact of takeaway cups being littered, and 81% want businesses to do more to make it easier to choose a reusable cup.
Over the past five years we have been at the forefront of action to tackle the issues associated with single-use cups, including through Cup Movement® in Glasgow, where we worked with key private and public sector partners to encourage people to #TakeItBack and have cups recycled, resulting in half a million cups being diverted from landfill. Based on learning from this, and other interventions, our vision and ambition to trial a reuse scheme at scale, in a more rural setting, one where collaboration and community spirit thrives, developed.
Engaging with and listening to businesses, those providing employment in an area where tourism and hospitality are vital to the local economy, has been crucial to establishing the scheme. As has the partnership that we have developed with North Coast 500, Zero Waste Scotland, and Highland Good Food Partnership. We recognise that only through collaboration and support will the scheme be as success for everyone and importantly locals and visitors alike.
An important part of achieving a circular economy is eliminating unnecessary single-use items and we’ve actively campaigned and advocated for a reduction. While we celebrated the introduction of the single-use plastics ban in Scotland and are part of the Scottish Government’s Single Use Disposable Cup Charge Advisory Group we are well aware that any future mandatory requirements or proposed ‘latte levy’ aimed at encouraging recycling or reduction of single-use cups are a way off yet.
For us inspiring action now, ahead of policy and legislative changes, is essential. The convenience of single-use cups often wins over reusable options coming at a cost, to our environment, and also for those businesses selling takeaway drinks.
Just like borrowing a book from a library, customers can now borrow a cup from one of 25 trailblazing businesses near the NC500, no deposits required. The scheme uses innovative App technology from cup system suppliers Vytal – Europe’s largest digital system working to make reusable the new standard.
The pilot is exactly that. A pilot. There will be challenges but we know valuable insights will be captured and we hope that our learning will create opportunities for future reusable packaging schemes to flow across Scotland.
So, if you are in the Highlands this summer download the Vytal app, visit one of the pioneering businesses prepared to trial the scheme, and give a reusable cup a ‘double shot’!
*First published in the Scotsman on 11 May 2023