United Kingdom lawmakers back tax on disposable coffee cups

'Latte levy' could be imposed on UK coffee drinkers to reduce disposable cup waste

United Kingdom lawmakers back tax on disposable coffee cups

British MPs have called for the introduction of a 25p charge on takeaway coffee cups, suggesting they could be banned within five years unless recycling improves.

"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", she said.

If all disposable coffee cups are recycled by 2023, that will require a lot of infrastructure - there are only three recycling facilities in the United Kingdom that can split the paper from the plastic for recycling at present (which is why less than 1% of cups are recycled).

The committee's chair, Mary Creagh MP, said: "The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year - that's enough to circle the planet five and a half times". Half a million cups are thrown away every day, with nearly all of them incinerated, exported or landfilled.

"Creagh said: "Coffee shops have been pulling the wool over customers" eyes, telling us their cups can be recycled, when less than one per cent are".

The MPs say that all of these cups should be recycled by 2023 - or the Government should step in and ban them.

The Daily Mail has led calls to "curb the cups" and crack down on plastic, campaigning to protect the environment with measures such as a deposit scheme for plastic bottles and the 5p levy on disposable plastic carrier bags.

Some coffee shops in Britain already provide discounts to customers who bring their own cups. 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.

Instead coffee chains perpetuated customer confusion that cups are widely recyclable when they are not. We will carefully consider the committee's recommendations and respond shortly'.

In acknowledgment of these complexities, the report states that revenue from the 25 pence charge should also go towards creating more recycling points for coffee cups (and all food packaging), as well as to increase public communications about recycling on-the-go. Coffee shops have been sending out mixed messages for years, emphasising that their cups are "recyclable" and staying silent on the fact they are not actually recycled.

According to the report, "almost half of all coffees and hot drinks" are sold in disposable cups.

"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.

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

On Friday the environment ministry said the government was working closely with the sector and had made progress in increasing recycling rates.

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