Should coffee customers be charged 25p for disposable cups?

Should coffee customers be charged 25p for disposable cups?

Should coffee customers be charged 25p for disposable cups?

MPs are calling for a 25p "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups - and a total ban unless recycling improves.

By 2023 all coffee cups should be recycled, and if they aren't - they should be banned.

A cross-party committee called for urgent action to curb the mountain of up to five billion disposable coffee cups dumped each year, nearly none of which are recycled.

Disposable cups can not be recycled by the normal systems because they are made from cardboard with a tightly bonded polyethylene liner, which is hard to remove, and means they are not accepted by paper mills.

If approved, the 25p levy will be introduced on all disposable coffee cups sold in cafés, restaurants and coffee shops.

The money raised from those who refused would be used to increase the number of recycling plants able to handle plastic-lined take-away cups.

A report by the Environmental Audit Committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

'Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.

The government agrees plastic waste is a problem and will seek evidence on a tax on single-use plastics. If not achieved, the report states, an outright ban on coffee cups should be introduced.

Time to crack out your reusable cups?


With coffee shops now a fixture in British society, the committee said that consumers are more responsive to extra charges than to discounts for bringing in their own reusable cups.

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.

"Disposable coffee cups may only represent a small fraction of the national annual tonnage of card and plastics produced which are lost from our recycling streams, but they leave the worst taste reminder of how on-the-go consumption can result in needless waste of our precious natural resources".

"The government should set a target for all disposable coffee cups to be recycled by 2023".

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

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

"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. Any stores that have in-house recycling options should also label their cups to reflect that.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the committee's recommendations would be carefully considered.

Mr Stemman said the industry should continue to focus on other environmental issues such as cutting water use, carbon reduction, and turning waste coffee grounds into biofuel.

Make companies pay for producing mixed material packaging which is hard to recycle (coffee cups are a paper shell with a plastic lining bonded to the paper).

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