MPs Call For A 'Latte Levy'

Coffee cup recycling

The Committee called for a "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups, which can be used to improve Britain's recycling bin infrastructure and reprocessing facilities.

High Street chain Eat says it's the only firm to sell 100% biodegradable cups in a bid to alleviate concerns about its environmental impact.

"Consumers don't think about the fact that we have to get rid of the packaging".

Funds from the so-called "latte levy" would be used to improve recycling facilities nationwide, Parliament's cross-party Environmental Audit Committee said on Friday in an emailed report.

Labelling - make sure that customers know that cups are "not widely recycled" and how best to dispose of their cup (this will often mean taking it back to the coffee shop).

"The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year - that's enough to circle the planet five and a half times", said committee's chair, Mary Creagh MP.

The vast majority end up in landfill or incineration, with 500,000 a day dropped as litter.

Some 30,000 tonnes of waste is produced from coffee cups in the United Kingdom every year.

If the target for recycling all disposable coffee cups by 2023 was not met, then the government should ban them altogether, the committee added.

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

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The politicians have set a target that all disposable coffee cups should be recycled by 2023. "Disposable coffee cups are an avoidable waste problem and if the United Kingdom can not be confident of their future sustainability, the Government should ban them".

Currently, Lincoln coffee shops including Angel Coffee House and Coffee Aroma offer incentives for customers who use reusable cups and already use cups that are biodegradable.

The sandwich chain Pret A Manger said last month that it will increase its discount for bringing a reusable cup from 25 pence to 50 pence from January 2018.

Britain produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year.

Unsure of how else to hammer eco-mindedness into customers, Starbucks said today that it will try a preemptive cup charge of its own.

A spokesman for Starbucks said of 5p charge trial: "We recognise there is growing concern about the number of single-use paper cups being used". Reusable cups will be promoted alongside the charge, the revenue from which will go towards a "comprehensive behaviour change study" run by Hubbub.

The issue is that although takeaway cups are made of paper, they are lined with polyethylene, which is hard to remove. At this scale, only one in every 400 cups is recycled.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said the 5p plastic bag charge is proof that "these levies work".

"The public needs a simple, United Kingdom wide solution, one which is made possible by the introduction of an on-the-go waste management infrastructure".

On the same day that MPs have recommended a 25 pence charge be added to all drinks sold in a disposable paper cup in the United Kingdom, environmental campaign charity Hubbub has announced plans with Starbucks to put the suggestion to the test.

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