How would a 'latte levy' on throwaway cups affect Lincoln coffee shops?

Sunday, 07 Jan, 2018

Two of the UK's most prominent waste management companies and the Paper Cup Alliance have responded to the call from the Environmental Audit Committee today for a 25p "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups.

Mary Creagh, the chair of House of Commons' environment committee, said the British government had "sat on its hands" over the tide of takeaway drinks cups, with half a million littered every day: "We urge the government to introduce a 25p charge on disposable cups".

"Disposable coffee cups may only represent a small fraction of the national annual tonnage of card and plastics produced which are lost from our recycling streams, but they leave the worst taste reminder of how on-the-go consumption can result in needless waste of our precious natural resources".

A group of British MPs is calling for tougher action on disposable coffee cups. To give them an incentive, lawmakers also want their tax to give way to harsher measures - if England's coffee cups aren't 100 percent recyclable by 2023, they propose switching to an outright ban.

Starbucks said it would also continue the 25 pence (28 euro cent) discount it already offers to customers who bring their own cup.

While some coffee shops provide discounts for customers who bring their own cup, such as Pret A Manger, the uptake of these offers is low at only 1-2% of coffee purchases, say EAC.

As well as the headline grabbing "latte levy", the EAC has recommended a target of every cup being recycled by 2023, as well as an overhaul of the UK's producer responsibility system, which now sees producers paying only 10 per cent of the cost for local authorities to collect and process packaging. "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".

"Once coffee cups are separately collected they have a value and can be made into new products".

One system created to tackle the problem already exists.

Improve labelling to educate consumers about how to dispose of their cup.

"The onus should not just be on the consumer".

"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".

Mr Palmer-Jones said: "For any so-called latte tax to be more than just a light and frothy foam nod to reform, we need to wake up and smell the real coffee needed for a lasting brew".

The full report into coffee cup waste can be read on the EAC's website.

"Consumers don't think about the fact that we have to get rid of the packaging".

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