Photo of a person with a reusable coffee cup sitting in front of a laptop

Webinar: How your organisation can reduce single-use

28 Nov 23

Our webinar, 'How your organisation can reduce single-use' covered how to comply with the law, new developments in helping to tackle disposable cups and how to go further with reducing single use items of all types. 

We also heard from some external guest speakers, who provided valuable insight into how they have put real life practices into place.

What did we cover?

Zero Waste Scotland are committed to providing businesses with a clear understanding on how they can make positive changes which will help make a significant impact to Scotland's Circular Economy. This can be through useful resources on the Single-Use Plastics Ban, which came into effect a year ago, or implementing a reusable cup scheme provides an opportunity to help tackle the consumption of single-use cups.

In our latest webinar, 'How your organisation can reduces single-use', we covered the following:

  1. Information on how to comply with the ban on selected single-use items in Scotland
  2. Details of the proposal to introduce a charge on single-use cups
  3. The benefits of offering reusables
  4. First-hand experience from businesses who have implemented reusable cup schemes
  5. Examples, benefits, challenges and how to overcome them
  6. Details of the support Zero Waste Scotland can offer to assist with setting up a scheme

Our speakers

We were very grateful to be joined by the following guest speakers:

  • Emma Glencross, Communications Officer, Keep Scotland Beautiful, who discussed their Highland Cup Movement scheme.
  • Steve Ogden, Director, Green Gain, who spoke on the Ditching Disposables pilot scheme.
  • Miriam Adcock, Zero Waste Scotland, who discussed her involvement with reusable cups at this years UCI Cycling World Championships.
  • Paulo Cruz, Glasgow Caledonian University, on how the organisation reduced the usage of single-use cups.
  • Stuart Fraser, St Mocha, on how they worked with staff and customers to see significant increases in reusable cups.

In our Q&A session we were also joined by Paul Wallace, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Donna wood, Transition Stirling.

Webinar recording

If you missed the webinar, or just want to listen again, you can watch the full recording of our session here.


With so much content to cover in the session, we didn't manage to answer each question. Below we have provided answers to any questions which were outstanding from the session.

We initially proposed having 20 businesses participating in the Highland Cup Movement (HCM) but ended up signing up 25 businesses due to the level of interest in participating. As the campaign was a short-term pilot, that involved no upfront cost to the businesses, we found generally businesses were willing to get involved.

Other businesses subsequently expressed their interest businesses during the campaign.

The 25 businesses who ultimately signed up to participate in the HCM were all independent businesses, so the issue of branded cups never arose.

All participating businesses undertook a readiness assessment prior to signing-up that covered all aspects of their participation, including promotion of the scheme in-store and externally.

All the participating businesses encourage customers to use their own reusable cups and many also give a discount for takeaway drinks in a reusable cup.

No, our customers didn’t need to download an app. We relied on our staff and signage to tell our customers. They would get offered a reusable cup for free and our staff would explain to them at the time what the project was and its aims then that dictated whether or not they got a cup. (Was quite a mouthful at the time but the drive through team have a great relationship with their customers hence it think the scheme went so well there).

We also had signs at the drive through order point asking the customers to state whether or not they had or wanted a reusable cup so we would then make their drink either in a reusable cup or hold off making their drink until they came to the window and handed us their reusable cup.

I would monitor social media, see where’s on trend, visit multiple operations and try and speak to the owners/managers of the ones they like. I’ve found most successful business owners are very open about what they do and like talking about it.

Before I opened our first shop I read a few books on how to open a successful coffee shop and a load of the things I read stick with me to this day.

Most evidence suggests that washing in a fully loaded, energy efficient dishwasher is the best option environmentally (preferred to washing in hot water by hand). If you have a  supply of renewable electricity then this is even better.

You can think about making your food more 'on the go friendly', so your customers don't need to use cutlery, or you can encourage them to take their own cutlery with them. You could also set up a deposit scheme like the ones we discussed for cups.