World News

MPs call for 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

MPs call for 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

In Gosport, coffee cup firm Huhtamaki - which manufactures coffee cups for Starbucks - is aiming to introduce disposal points for coffee cups in the town, working alongside Gosport Borough Council.

Yet if the 25p tax, advocated today by Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee headed by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, changes behaviour, encourages recycling and reduces the amount of discarded plastic, it's a small price to pay - the United Kingdom throws away 2.5 billion disposal coffee cups every year.

It's not just MPs making plans to tackle the issue of coffee cup waste.

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.

Less than 1 percent 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.

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

At least 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year.

This week, Pret doubled the discount offered to customers who bring in a reusable coffee cup from 25p to 50p.

If the target of 100 percent recycling of disposable cups is not achieved by 2023, then the government is called to put a ban disposable cups similar to the one now imposed on plastic bags. "Legislation needs to set a date after which the continued production of unrecyclable coffee cups is banned by law".




Money raised by the 5p charge will go to environmental charity Hubbub, which will use it to research how customers can be encouraged to switch to reusable cups.

The promotion of a charge for disposable cups, rather than a discount for customers bringing reusable cups, comes down to a question of effectiveness, according to the Committee.

A 5p charge on coffee cups was first proposed by the Liberal Democrats after it emerged past year that only one in 400 was being recycled.

"The evidence is clear that these levies work - the 5p charge on plastic bags has massively reduced usage and helped protect our environment".

"By singling out disposable cups the committee is, by its own admission, looking for United Kingdom coffee retailers and their cup providers to underwrite the waste management of all packaging used on the go", he said.

The lawmakers have also recommended the government to charge more from producers for their packaging which are hard to recycle as well as improve labeling in order to educate consumers on how to dispose of their cup in best possible way.

This comes after the success of the plastic bag 5p tax which saw an 85% reduction in the amount of single-use plastic bags handed out, taking 6 billion plastic bags out of circulation in just the first year of the tax being in force.

The committee last month recommended the government introduce a plastic bottle deposit scheme to cut plastic waste and leakage into the oceans.


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