Introducing a so-called “latte levy” could raise significant funds for local authorities across Scotland, it has been suggested.
The Scottish Greens have urged Scottish ministers to adopt a tax of 25p on all disposable coffee cups, rising by 5p each year to 2025.
It is part of an action plan published by the party which aims to tackle plastic waste and includes proposals to ultimately phase out use of disposable cups.
As part of its 2019/20 Budget deal with the Greens, the Scottish Government agreed it would consider the introduction of the charge.
Similar proposals have previously been rejected by the UK Government, which suggested last year it would be better for shops to offer voluntary discounts to customers using their own cups.
Scottish Greens environment spokesman Mark Ruskell said: “The UK Government failed to introduce its much-hyped coffee cup tax, so Scotland has a chance to lead the way and show we are serious about tackling the scourge of plastic pollution.
“Being a leader on this issue is not only the right thing to do but it will create opportunities for innovative Scottish businesses to develop sustainable alternatives.
“Plastic pollution has become an environmental emergency in Scotland and around the world. It threatens wildlife, litters our beaches and cities, contributes to climate change and places enormous costs on local councils.
“We have already seen great success with the 5p levy on single-use carrier bags reducing their use by 80% in the first year. Bold action on other plastics is clearly required.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As part of the Programme for Government 2017-18, we established an expert panel to advise on the use of charging to reduce single use disposable drinks cups.
“We will consider the recommendations of the panel – which are due in the coming months – and bring forward proposals in 2019-20 for legislation and other measures to implement the panel’s recommendations.”