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Renewed efforts to tackle Glasgow cup waste in run-up to COP26

08 October 2021

This autumn, we're joining forces once again with Glasgow City Council and five of Glasgow's biggest coffee retailers to encourage people to #ChooseToReuse or otherwise #TakeItBack and recycle. As the city prepares to host the 26th annual UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) this campaign will highlight the links between consumption and the climate emergency and encourage people to change their consumption habits, starting with single-use cups.

First rolled out as part of our Cup Movement  in 2019, this intervention aims to reduce the amount of single-use cups used and discarded in Glasgow each year, by encouraging people to make use of existing facilities for cup reuse and recycling.

The intervention is supported by Caffè Nero, Costa Coffee, McDonald's, Pret a Manger and Starbucks, who between them provide 106 store locations across Glasgow where reusable cups are accepted and encouraged, and single-use paper cups, regardless of brand, can be taken to be recycled. An interactive online map is available, to help people navigate to their nearest location for cup reuse or recycling.

The #ChooseToReuse or #TakeItBack initiative is also linking in with the council's People Make Glasgow Greener campaign. Messaging encouraging people to #TakeItBack and recycle single use cups with participating retailers will appear on the city's blue on-the-go recycling bins, which currently cannot accept paper cups.

Around 80% of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from the goods, materials and services which we produce, buy, use and often throw out immediately.  And with nearly 500 million single-use cups being used and discarded in Scotland each year, the vast majority of which end up wasted either in landfill, the incinerator or as litter, our caffeine fix is an example of how our current consumption contributes to climate change.

Every single cup contains materials – paper and plastic – that were extracted, transported, made into products, transported again; just to be used for a few minutes before being discarded as waste.  This is not sustainable.

Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said, “I’m delighted to see the return of the #ChooseToReuse and #TakeItBack campaigns. Initiatives such as this encourage consumers to be more conscious of the environmental impacts of single-use plastics, and reducing their use will ensure that they don’t needlessly harm the environment. 

The introduction of the new interactive map will show Glaswegian’s just how easy it is to #TakeItBack. By helping consumers take simple steps to reduce plastic waste in their daily routines, we can all make a significant contribution in tackling the climate emergency and help Glasgow achieve net-zero carbon. I would like to thank Keep Scotland Beautiful and all of the retailers involved for their continued support.”

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful said, “Everything we buy, including single use cups, has a carbon cost which contributes to climate change.  It may not seem like it, but consumers who take their cup back to a store for proper recycling or choose to buy their coffee in a reusable cup, are taking simple actions to help our country become a Net Zero Nation. Not only that but they are also reducing the chance of single use cups adding to the looming litter emergency our country is facing.  This campaign helps people to understand that their actions can, and do make a difference, and we are grateful to all our partners for their support.

“If you are a lover of coffee or other on-the-go food & drink we urge you to #ChooseToReuse as much as possible and, if using a single-use cup, be sure to #TakeItBack to be recycled in one of the 106 stores on our cup recycling map.”

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