Government urged to introduce 25p "latte levy" on coffee cups from MPs

Image for MPs ask the Government to wake up smell the coffee and introduce a 25p ’latte levy

The Environmental Audit Committee believes that all disposable coffee cups should be recycled by 2023.

"Just like the plastic bag charge we are all now familiar with, a charge added to our coffee at the point of purchase will help consumers think about whether to take a refillable cup to the cafe", Laura Foster, head of clean seas at the MCS, said in a statement.

"Coffee shops have been pulling the wool over customers' eyes, telling us their cups can be recycled, when less than 1 percent are", Ms. Creagh said regarding the confusion that coffee chains have created about coffee cups being eligible for recycling. It was the EAC's recommendations of banning microbeads that bolstered government into doing so (the full ban comes into effect this coming July). The firm sells them for £1 and also offers a 25p discount for customers who bring their own.

The proposed 25p levy is being opposed by the makers of paper cups.

The chain will partner with charity Hubbub to launch the London-based trial, and money generated from the charge will be used for studies into behaviour change and attitudes towards the uptake of reusable cups.

"Whether or not the Government is willing to consider a levy, there is still a lot more work to be done by all the stakeholders involved to develop a sensible solution to this very modern waste problem".

It is time to do something similar with coffee cups.

The Environmental Audit Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a minimum 25p charge to cut waste in the same way the plastic bag levy has done in supermarkets.

Huhtamaki, the Finnish foodservice company responsible for the largest share of takeaway cups made in the United Kingdom, started a project late in 2017 to improve recycling availability for the cups alongside the largest food and drinks outlet firms.

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It also pointed out that now cup producers only contribute around 10 per cent of the cost of disposing of the coffee cups "leaving the taxpayer to foot the rest".

While a charge could encourage the uptake of reusable cups, leading to a reduction in the amount of waste produced, the report also acknowledges the need for improved recycling capabilities to deal with the remaining disposable cups; only three reprocessors nationwide are now able to recycle disposable cups due to their mixed paper and plastic composition.

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President at Veolia UK & Ireland, highlighted the progress it had already made in pioneering coffee cup recycling, working in partnership with Costa, Starbucks and McDonald's.

The tax would reduce in line with improved recycling rates for coffee cups.

'Taxing the morning coffee run will not address the issue of litter but it will hurt consumers and impact already struggling high streets'.

However, the difficulties surrounding the recycling of coffee cups are manifold: not only are recycling capabilities limited but the majority of cups go straight into the general waste.

They said the disposable cups that majority used actually had a "shockingly low recycling rate" - less than 1 per cent.

Even when consumers place coffee cups in recycling bins, there's now no way for recycling plants to recycle them.

However, due to their plastic lining, customers who put them in the recyclable waste effectively contaminate it.

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