MPs call for 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

Call for 'latte levy' to cut disposable coffee cup waste
British parliamentary committee recommends levy on take-away coffee cups
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05 January, 2018

Starbucks has today (5 January) announced a three-month trial, starting in February, that will test the impact of a 5p charge on in-store disposable coffee cups.

British MPs have called for the introduction of a 25p charge on takeaway coffee cups, suggesting they could be banned within five years unless recycling improves.

According to a report released by EAC on Friday (5 January), the United Kingdom produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year and an eye-watering 500,000 cups are thrown away each day.

"The paper cups we manufacture in the United Kingdom are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and, through a number of facilities, are being recycled".

Labelling - make sure that customers know that cups are "not widely recycled" and how best to dispose of their cup (this will often mean taking it back to the coffee shop).

Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said: 'Almost none are recycled and half-a-million a day are littered.

The committee said it was "disappointed" that only Costa and Starbucks provided written evidence for its investigation, and not other major retailers, including Caffe Nero and the supermarket chains Tesco, Morrisons and Pret a Manger.

"We're calling for action to reduce the number of single use cups, promote reusable cups over disposable cups and to recycle all coffee cups by 2023".

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If this target is not met, the Audit Committee called on the government to completely ban disposable coffee cups. "Legislation needs to set a date after which the continued production of unrecyclable coffee cups is banned by law".

Several leading coffee shop chains in Britain, including the largest, Costa, offer discounts for customers who use their own re-usable cups.

The Committee added that the money raised will be used to improve the UK's recycling "binfrastructure" and reprocessing facilities.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said the 5p plastic bag charge is proof that "these levies work".

A 5p charge on coffee cups was first proposed by the Liberal Democrats after it emerged previous year that only one in 400 was being recycled. "The government must do the same and introduce the levy as soon as possible".

Additionally, it said that producers needed to pay more for packaging that proved hard to recycle, and that labeling needed to be improved so that consumers knew how to properly dispose of their cups.

He said that for the so-called "latte levy" to be more than just "a light and frothy foam nod to reform" the United Kingdom needs to invest more in sustainable product design, use more recyclable materials and be better at "capturing" materials at the end of their life.

"Its estimate of the funds created by a 25p charge are entirely disproportionate and it would seem the committee has failed to appreciate the point of an on-the-go waste management strategy is to achieve higher collection, less littering and more recycling for all on-the-go packaging from cans to cups, so simplifying waste disposal on the go".


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