United Kingdom government urged to introduce 25p latte levy on disposable coffee cups

05 January, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Coffee Aroma said they have already been looking into using degradable cups

The Environmental Audit Committee has called the British government to introduce a 25p levy on single-use takeaway coffee cups and have urged for the need for all the cups to be recycled by 2023.

Further sicking up then "one the go" theme, CIWM CEO Dr Colin Church added:"This EAC report provides a useful summary of the challenges we face in developing a more sustainable approach to both disposable coffee cups and, by extension, single-use "on the go" food contact packaging as a whole".

"The UK throws away 2.5bn disposable coffee cups every year; enough to circle the planet five and a half times", said Creagh.

The programme included a move this month to make all ACE UK bring banks accept paper cups for recycling, delivering an additional 415 recycling points located in 105 local authorities across the UK.

They want United Kingdom ministers to impose a 25p "latte levy" per cup, on top of the coffee price, to fund better recycling and reprocessing systems.

MPs say if cup recycling doesn't improve drastically by 2023, they'll be banned completely. Coffee shops have been sending out mixed messages for years, emphasising that their cups are "recyclable" and staying silent on the fact they are not actually recycled. It was the EAC's recommendations of banning microbeads that bolstered government into doing so (the full ban comes into effect this coming July).

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Time to crack out your reusable cups?

Richard Burnett, from James Cropper, one of only three companies that recycles coffee cups, supported the 25p charge if the money is used to support the infrastructure to recycle them.

PCCRG is a voluntary body focused on increasing the recovery and recycling of paper cups.

"We are encouraged by industry action to increase the recycling of paper cups with some major retail chains now offering discounts to customers with reusable cups", said a ministry spokeswoman.

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

Starbucks also began trialling a fully-recyclable coffee cup, invented by the entrepreneur and engineer Martin Myerscough, in some of its United Kingdom branches in June a year ago.

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This was welcomed by the committee, which heard evidence during the inquiry that consumer confusion around coffee cups is contributing to poor recycling rates.

Creagh said coffee shops have been "pulling the wool" over customers' eyes by saying their cups are recyclable.

On the back of the Audit Committee's report, Starbucks announced that it was to introduce a 5p charge on disposable cups in 20-25 of its London stores as part of a trial, with all proceeds to go to environmental consultancy Hubbub.

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.

"We think a latte levy will be the kind of charge that will make people think "I need to bring my cup to work today", in the same way that they are moving more and more to reusable plastic bottles".

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