MPs call for 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

Image for MPs ask the Government to wake up smell the coffee and introduce a 25p ’latte levy

Criticised at first, it has made a discernible difference, hence why this latest proposal should be regarded as an opportunity to protect the environment rather than just another tax that milks consumers.

In October past year, organisations from across the paper cup supply chain signed an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to accelerate UK recycling of PE lined paper cups (see letsrecycle.com story).

What's wrong with regular coffee shop users taking their own cup if it avoids the charge? Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops. "To understand how better this could work we are delighted to announce a partnership with Starbucks that will trial and promote a 5p cup charge in 20 - 25 central London stores". It has previously offered a reduction of 25p.

Starbucks said it will also make an effort to ensure people who drink in its shops have a china cup.

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.

The government now follows targets set by the EU Waste Directive for recycling paper and plastic, but none refers specifically to the mixed-material cups; moreover, there are no confirmed targets in place for once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

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.

"I am an expert in making fantastic coffee, but they (the cup manufacturers) are the ones with the knowledge and resources to be able to change".

The Environmental Audit Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a minimum 25p charge to cut waste in the same way the plastic bag levy has done in supermarkets.




The cups are technically recyclable, but because they mix paper and plastic components there are only three recycling facilities in the United Kingdom that can deal with them.

It also pointed out that now cup producers only contribute around 10 per cent of the cost of disposing of the coffee cups "leaving the taxpayer to foot the rest".

It added: "We recommend that the Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups disposed of in recycling bins should be recycled by 2023". "Anything that would help facilitate the recycling of these cups is a good thing", he said.

"Taxing the morning coffee run will not address the issue of litter, but it will hurt consumers and impact already struggling High Streets". We will carefully consider the committee's recommendations and respond shortly'.

Unless there's evidence that they're all being recycled correctly, that is.

The MPs say that all of these cups should be recycled by 2023 - or the Government should step in and ban them. "We agree with the committee that if complete recycling of coffee cups isn't reached by 2023, then there should be an outright ban on providing them - and that date should be set in stone".

However, due to their plastic lining, customers who put them in the recyclable waste effectively contaminate it. That is likely to not be the case'.

Parliament's environmental audit committee highlights today Britain's use of 2.5 billion coffee cups a year, which it says is enough to circle the planet five and a half times.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery, remarked that while the tax may be helpful, it has to be part of a wider reform that "shifts the burden of responsibility for all forms of packaging content, recyclability and ultimately their collection, back to the producer".

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