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Food and drink on-the-go has become an indispensable part of our busy lives and consumer habits.

However, the constant stream of single-use items and packaging that this generates is creating unsustainable amounts of waste and litter. Is the convenience they afford worth it?

More and more people are choosing to consume more reponsibly, by switching to reusable alternatives such as bottles, cups and even lunchboxes

#ChooseToReuse and help reduce the impact of unsustainable consumption, both locally and around the world.

11 billion

items of packaging waste are generated each year in the UK by our lunch on the go habits.

55%

of sites in Scotland are littered with food and drink packaging.

47

is how many free take-away drinks you could earn in a year through discounts for reusable cups.

Reuse on-the-go

There are a lot of single-use items associated with food and drink on the go, but our campaign is starting simple and focusing on three key items that can make a big difference:

Reusable water bottles

Carrying a water bottle is a great way to make sure you stay hydrated and save some money whilst doing so by avoiding bottled drinks. To keep topped up, use the Refill app to find your nearest water refill station.

Reusable cups

Many cafes are accepting reusable cups -some will even offer you a discount on your drink. Depending on the scheme, your reusable cup could earn you up to 47 free drinks a year!
Especially if you have a regular routine, like a commute to school or work when you pick up a hot drink, make packing your reusable cup a habit. 

Reusable lunch boxes

A growing number of take-away food retailers now accept reusable lunch boxes. See if your favourite food take-away can put your food in your own lunch box.

Check out Highland Community Waste Partner Velocity Café & Bicycle Workshop in Inverness, and the work they're doing to promote reuse.

Making the switch

Here's a few tools that can help you as a consumer in the Highlands to make the switch and #ChoosetoReuse:

Refill app

It can be hard to #ChooseToReuse when you're not sure which cafes will refill your water bottle or accept your reusable cup or lunchbox. The Refill app from City To Sea is designed to help bridge that gap, by providing a handy map of your nearest locations. 

Download the Refill app to find out where you can #ChooseToReuse.        

Highland Cup Movement - a reusable cup scheme

We know that, even with the best intentions, people will not always have a reusable to hand when they fancy a a take-away drink. That's why the Cup Movement in the Highlands is trailing a reusable cup scheme, which makes reusable cups available to customers at the point of sale at participating retailers.

There are already a number of such schemes in operation around the world, but this pilot is trailing whether it can work at a larger scale, around the North Coast 500. 

Learn more about the project and how to make use of the scheme.

Better choices

Switching to reusables is not just a consumer choice. Businesses also need to play their part. Here are some interesting studies on the impact of on-the-go packaging and what businesses can do to move away from single-use items:

Ditching Disposables

The Ditching Disposables initiative from Zero Waste Scotland worked with businesses to reduce use of single-use items that were the subject of a 2021 ban, including plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates, as well as polystyrene cups, lids and food packaging. Their report shares learnings from the pilot around what worked best.  

Read more

Food-To-Go Report

This report from City to Sea provides useful insights into the current state of packaging use in the on-the-go food and drink sector and what can be done to change things.

Read full report

Latest from the Partnership

In addition to our campaign, the HCWP partners are undertaking a number of reuse projects in a variety of settings. We'll post the latest updates in this section.

Reusable Party Kit available for hire in Thurso

Thurso Community Development Trust, of the Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP), have joined the Party Kit Network, a reusable party-ware non-profit Community Interest Company that allows people to hire items like cutlery, crockery and other table settings and decorations instead of buying -and then throwing away- disposables.

 

 

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