January 21, 2018

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MPs Want a 'Latter Levy' to Cut Down on Disposable Cup Waste

05 January 2018

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the committee, says the UK's coffee shop industry is "expanding rapidly", so it's necessary to take action now to kickstart a "revolution" in cup recycling.

MPs are calling for a 25p "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups - and a total ban unless recycling improves.

While looking like paper, they have a polypropylene plastic lining.

As a result just one in 400 cups are recycled - less than 0.25%. Nearly none are recycled and half a million a day are littered.

"Their silence speaks volumes", MPs said. 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.

A PROPOSED "latte levy" won't be everyone's cup of tea now that there's a coffee shop on so many streets.

Less than 1 percent of coffee cups are recycled in Britain because of the tightly bonded plastic liner, the difficulties of recycling packaging which has been in contact with food and drink and a lack of facilities, the lawmakers said. These were "well meaning", MPs said, but not enough to tackle the scale of cup waste in the UK.

"I am an expert in making fantastic coffee, but they (the cup manufacturers) are the ones with the knowledge and resources to be able to change".

It added that if disposable coffee cups aren't all fully recyclable by 2023, they should be banned. "Those without in-store recycling should print their cups with a not widely recyclable label".

Make companies pay for producing mixed material packaging which is hard to recycle (coffee cups are a paper shell with a plastic lining bonded to the paper).

The government plans to produce a new plastics policy later in the year.

"Its estimate of the funds created by a 25p charge are entirely disproportionate and it would seem the committee has failed to appreciate the point of an on-the-go waste management strategy is to achieve higher collection, less littering and more recycling for all on-the-go packaging from cans to cups, so simplifying waste disposal on the go".

A 5p charge on coffee cups was first proposed by the Liberal Democrats after it emerged past year that only one in 400 was being recycled. "We are committed to increasing recycling rates", he said. If a charge helped to pay for infrastructure around this, he added, it could increase the volume of cups recycled. "Nearly none are recycled and half a million a day are littered".

Starbucks said on Friday it would trial a 5p charge on takeaway coffee cups for three months in about 20 London cafes.

This week, Pret doubled the discount offered to customers who bring in a reusable coffee cup from 25p to 50p.

Now the Environmental Audit Committee's plan to bring in a tax on disposable coffee cups is in the proposal stage. "We agree with the committee that if complete recycling of coffee cups isn't reached by 2023, then there should be an outright ban on providing them - and that date should be set in stone".

Mr Stemman said the industry should continue to focus on other environmental issues such as cutting water use, carbon reduction, and turning waste coffee grounds into biofuel.

MPs Want a 'Latter Levy' to Cut Down on Disposable Cup Waste