MPs Want a 'Latter Levy' to Cut Down on Disposable Cup Waste

Starbucks to test coffee cup charge as industry responds to EAC report

'Latte levy' could be imposed on UK coffee drinkers to reduce disposable cup waste

A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee suggests a levy of 25p a cup, with the money being used to improve recycling and reprocessing facilities here in the UK.

In the Environmental Audit Committee's report on paper cups, the government is also being called to ensure that all coffee cups are recycled by 2023 or introduce a ban on the disposable cups if that target is not reached.

"Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered".

"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.

Chains Pret A Manger, Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero and Greggs alongside United States firm Starbucks are among the biggest coffee-sellers in Britain and have rapidly expanded in the last 10 years to meet increasing demand.

The MPs say that all of these cups should be recycled by 2023 - or the Government should step in and ban them.

But just four recycling companies in the United Kingdom can separate the plastic film lining the inside of the paper cup.

A group of British MPs is calling for tougher action on disposable coffee cups. "We are committed to increasing recycling rates", he said.

Now many coffee shops offer an equivalent discount to customers who bring reusable cups (Pret A Manger just upped its discount to 50p), but awareness and uptake is very low, around 1 percent.

Less than 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled in Britain because of the tightly bonded plastic liner, the difficulties of recycling packaging which has been in contact with food and drink and a lack of facilities, the lawmakers said.

"We believe that more testing is required to assess the impact a charge may have on changing behaviour", Hubbub's chief executive Trewin Restorick said.

"We heard evidence that consumers are more responsive to a charge than a discount and that a charge on disposable cups could reduce use by up to 30 percent."
The chain said its efforts to persuade customers to buy reusable cups had led to a 1.8% uptake.

"By generating greater volumes of cups for recycling this will create a market for the material, making cups more attractive to waste management companies and creating the potential for more schemes to be introduced to collect cups from a much wider range of locations such as offices and high street locations".

Last night chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - whose BBC show Hugh's War on Waste first drew attention to the paper cup problem - said the report showed "the United Kingdom has finally woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare".

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