United Kingdom lawmakers call for 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

05 January, 2018, 13:41 | Author: Kim Reid
  • United Kingdom lawmakers call for 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

Disposable coffee cups can be tricky to recycle because most are made with a combination of paper and plastic.

At least 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away 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.

A target of all single-use cups to be recycled by 2023 is also recommended in the report, as well as an overhaul of the United Kingdom producer responsibility scheme, something discussed with regards to plastic bottles in the EAC's previous report.

Waste cups are "an unsightly and damaging blight on the environment", said the Environmental Audit Committee in a new report published Friday. Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.

The committee's report states: 'There is no excuse for the reluctance we have seen from Government and industry to address coffee cup waste.

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ACE also stated that it is working with local authorities and waste management organisations to include disposable cups in kerbside collections. The trial will take place across 20 to 25 London stores and marks the first time a major coffee retailer has charged customers extra for a cup.

However, the London trial, which will run for three months starting in February, is an important first step by the U.S. chain - and the proposals are a victory for the Daily Mail's Curb the Cups campaign.

Mr Palmer-Jones said: "For any so-called latte tax to be more than just a light and frothy foam nod to reform, we need to wake up and smell the real coffee needed for a lasting brew".

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.

But just four recycling companies in the United Kingdom can separate the plastic film lining the inside of the paper cup. "We're calling for action to reduce the number of single-use cups, promote reusable cups over disposable cups and to recycle all coffee cups by 2023".

"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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Instead coffee chains perpetuated customer confusion that cups are widely recyclable when they are not.

While some coffee shops provide discounts for customers who bring their own cup, such as Pret A Manger, the uptake of these offers is low at only 1-2% of coffee purchases, say EAC.

Now the Environmental Audit Committee's plan to bring in a tax on disposable coffee cups is in the proposal stage. "We are committed to increasing recycling rates", he said.

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.

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.

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