British parliamentary committee recommends levy on take-away coffee cups

by Antonio Miles January 5, 2018, 12:59
British parliamentary committee recommends levy on take-away coffee cups

Coffee shops should be made to charge 25 pence for the use of disposable cups say MPs in Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

British lawmakers called on the government on Friday to impose a charge on disposable coffee cups and set a target to recycle all of them by 2023 - or ban them altogether.

The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year.

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

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

United Kingdom politicians want the government to introduce a 25p (33 cents) "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups in an effort to eliminate waste. 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.

Although disposable coffee cups are recyclable, EAC say that most are not recycled, due to the cups' bonded plastic liner and the difficulties of recycling packaging that has been contaminated by food or drink.

"There is no excuse for the ongoing reluctance from government and industry to address coffee cup waste", the report said.

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"We recognise there is growing concern about the number of single-use paper cups being used and that our customers are interested in ways we can help them reduce, reuse and recycle", said a Starbucks spokeswoman.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) suggested revenue from the so-called "Latte levy" should be used to boost Britain's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

"The committee has recognised that the huge mountain of disposable coffee cups is effectively unrecyclable, and is overwhelming and disrupting the nation's waste disposal systems, ultimately polluting our rivers and seas, and needs urgent action".

A coffee cup recycling point is displayed in the City of London.

"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.

Just five retailers have taken up Cropper's cup recycling initiative and the firm has recycled just 10m cups following a target of 500 million a year.

Starbucks said it has offered discounts for using re-usable cups since 1998, starting at 10p and rising to 50p for a few months in 2016. "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".

This, the Committee said, will be achieved by a two-pronged approach - by making produces pay more for difficult-to-recycle packaging, and by improving labelling.


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