- 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
- Making it easy to choose a reusable cup for takeaway drinks
- 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
- 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
With COP26 coming to a close in Glasgow this week, the climate emergency has rightly dominated agendas, media and news feeds worldwide. Terms like ‘emission reductions’, ‘decarbonisation’, ‘net zero’ and the elusive 1.5°C target are becoming mainstream, with the energy, transport, waste and food sectors in the spotlight. But there is one thing that underpins all of the above and that arguably has gotten us into this mess in the first place, and that is the way that we consume.
Throughout our history, humans have sought to improve our living conditions and quality of life. We’ve built tools and technologies to enhance our abilities and access more resources and, at some point along the line, started pursuing growth for growth’s sake. In the process, we have grown accustomed to consuming ever more, faster and cheaper.
For those of us living in the ‘developed’ world, consumption is now a cornerstone of daily life, with high expectations for variety, affordability and convenience at every turn. But the carbon emissions, pollution, habitat destruction and mountains of waste that this creates are sending an uncomfortable message that is increasingly hard to ignore: we are consuming too much and we are doing so in a linear fashion that is simply not sustainable.
The crucial question is this: Can we ever go back?
The change required is systemic and transformative. Realistically, it can only happen in small incremental steps. We need strong leadership from above, with bold targets, commitments, policies, strategies and action plans. And we also need everyone to play their part.
Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around 80% of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from the stuff that we consume. Scotland is taking important steps towards addressing this, with initiatives like the Deposit Return Scheme and the Circular Economy Bill that was planned before the pandemic. Just yesterday the Scottish Government introduced regulations that will see Scotland ban some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastic items form June 2022. Industry and retailers are stepping up to lead the way with new technologies and approaches for solving the problem. And of course, all of these solutions also rely on us, the consumers, to make good use of them.
The UK’s Climate Change Committee estimates that 60% of the country’s emission reduction targets involve some kind of behaviour change. In other words, in order to change our system we also need to change how we as individuals do things and what we expect. Can we voluntarily forego the abundance and convenience that we’ve grown accustomed to? What will it take to curb our insatiable appetite for stuff?
Our Cup Movement in Glasgow campaign was a case study in grappling with these issues. By bringing together everyone involved in the production, supply, retail, consumption and waste management of cups, we sought solutions to a very small and specific yet symbolic aspect of modern consumption: the take-away, single-use cup.
Single-use cups are designed to be wasted. They save on space and washing up for retailers and allow us, the consumers, the convenience and treat of a hot drink to take away with us whilst going about our busy days. They are as ubiquitous as the coffee culture they are part of, with an estimated 500 million of them used and discarded in Scotland each year. They are hard -but not impossible- to recycle. And they are also easy to eliminate, in theory, through the use of reusable alternatives. So, by making a concerted and focused effort, we can make a difference.
Although Cup Movement was put on hold by the pandemic in March 2020, in the run-up to COP26 we re-activated one of its key interventions. Solutions for cup reuse and recycling are now readily available in 106 Glasgow coffee chain stores so can we reduce cup waste by getting people to use them?
As world leaders and delegates leave Glasgow after seeking a way forward for addressing climate change, are we prepared to play our part and start to make simple changes to the consumption habits we’ve grown accustomed to? If you’re in Glasgow, challenge yourself to support our #ChooseToReuse or #TakeItBack initiative and help take a small step towards more sustainable consumption, starting with single-use cups.
To find out more, visit the '#ChooseToReuse or #TakeItBack' intervention web page.