Call for 'latte levy' to cut disposable coffee cup waste

Call for 'latte levy' to cut disposable coffee cup waste”

Britain should charge a 25-pence (US$0.34) "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups to cut down waste and ban them, if a recycling target is not met by 2023, a committee of lawmakers said on Friday.

A report by the Environmental Audit Committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

It follows research which shows the United Kingdom throws away 2.5 billion paper cups every year, with many consumers believing they are being recycled when less than 1 per cent actually are.

Labour MP Mary Creagh, chair of the committee said: "Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and the government has sat on its hands".

On Friday Starbucks said that it would start a three-month trial of a 5p paper cup charge in up to 25 London shops from next month.

Some coffee shops give customers discounts for bringing their own refillable cups.

Foodservice Packaging Association executive director Martin Kersh fears a ban on disposable cups would cause some coffee shops to close. Many retailers sell cups bearing the Mobius Loop and other recycling symbols, but while the cups can be deposited at some retailers and soon at bring banks coordinated by the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK), they cannot be placed in mixed or paper-specific recycling bins - the resultant contamination can lead to more waste going to landfill.

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As a result, MPs have urged a total ban on coffee cups should be imposed by 2023, unless the recycling process is dramatically improved. MCS's Beachwatch litter-surveying campaign has seen a reported 93 per cent increase in coffee cups found on United Kingdom beaches over the past five years.

Veolia Environmental Services responded to the report saying that it is already leading a solution to collect, recycle and re-use Britain's coffee cups, which has seen 10 million of them recycled in the last eight months.

Most paper recycling facilities reject cups because it is hard to separate the plastic inner lining from the paper, meaning only 1% of those thrown away each year are recycled.

Huhtamaki, the Finnish foodservice company responsible for the largest share of takeaway cups made in the United Kingdom, started a project late in 2017 to improve recycling availability for the cups alongside the largest food and drinks outlet firms. Companies across the industry have been working to address this barrier and increase cup recycling.

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

However, the difficulties surrounding the recycling of coffee cups are manifold: not only are recycling capabilities limited but the majority of cups go straight into the general waste.

Time to crack out your reusable cups? "Only by treating this issue as one that is the responsibility of both industry and consumers will reuse become the norm in place of single-use and throw away".

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