Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

UK Legislators Propose 'Latte Levy' on Paper Coffee Cups

UK Legislators Propose 'Latte Levy' on Paper Coffee Cups

This is according to the so called "latte levy" report put forward by the Environmental Audit Committee, which is recommending that the Government makes a series of changes.

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).

Approximately 1.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away each year in the United Kingdom, enough to circle the Earth five and a half times, but only 0.25 percent of these are recycled.

It's not just MPs making plans to tackle the issue of coffee cup waste.

You can use any brand of reusable cup in each store, but the cheapest and easiest way is to buy a £1 reusable plastic cup at Starbucks, marked with a line for its 350ml size (known as "tall" at Starbucks).

Pearlfisher head of realisation Jen Nathan says, "Designers and design agencies should be playing a significant role in helping to advise their clients on the most sustainable materials and production practices and connecting them with innovative partners and suppliers who are helping to find solutions to challenges like that of takeaway coffee cups".

They recommend he Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups should be recycled by 2023.

The MPs urged ministers to set a target that all such cups be recycled by 2023, and "if this target is not achieved, the government should ban disposable coffee cups".

It says that today 1.8% of its customers use reusable cups and that now it costs £1 to buy one from Starbucks. Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops.

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.

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The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the production and shipment of 2.5 billion cups - the number discarded in the United Kingdom every year - is equivalent to that produced by burning around 120 million litres of petrol.

They hope a "latte levy" would force consumers to use recyclable cups and reduce waste.

Suez's Palmer-Jones agreed, commenting that a charge "should be used to fund the collection of cups, since once they are separately collected they have a value and can be made into new products".

"Indications are that introducing a tax on coffee cups will significantly deter shoppers, with over one third saying it would negatively affect how often they visited their local high street", said Neil Whittall, chairman of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group.

"If they were recycling it themselves, they'd bring reusable cups with them".

A spokesperson for the British Coffee Association said the proposed levy would place an unfair cost on coffee drinking consumers alone-despite the fact that other types of packaging are responsible for far more paper waste.

"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.

"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".

"By singling out disposable cups the committee is, by its own admission, looking for United Kingdom coffee retailers and their cup providers to underwrite the waste management of all packaging used on the go", he said.

Hardly any of the more than 2 billion cups that get thrown away each year are recyclable, the committee found.

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