MPs call for 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

A 25p latte levy should be introduced on disposable coffee cups to cut waste, MPs have said.

The Committee's report also recommends that all single-use coffee cups are recycled by 2023, and if this isn't in effect by then that there is an outright coffee cup ban.

In Gosport, coffee cup firm Huhtamaki - which manufactures coffee cups for Starbucks - is aiming to introduce disposal points for coffee cups in the town, working alongside Gosport Borough Council.

EAC Chair Mary Creagh commented: "Taxpayers are footing the bill for disposing of the billions of coffee cups thrown away each year, whether or not they are coffee drinkers".

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

The MPs urged ministers to set a target that all such cups be recycled by 2023, and "if this target is not achieved, the government should ban disposable coffee cups".

Less than 1% 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.

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

If implemented, the "latte levy" will mean that when you buy a cup of your preferred hot beverage - it will cost 25p more if you get it in a takeaway cup.

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No one likes to pay more, but charges work - most people carry a reusable shopping bag since the introduction of the plastic bag charge, and the idea is that a "latte levy" will encourage reusable alternatives, or "drinking in" with a china cup. "If a sustainable recycling system for disposable coffee cups can not be set up by this date, they should be banned". 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. While the report recommends that the money from the 25p charge goes toward this "infrastructure" - it makes way more sense to reduce the amount of plastic we demand in the first place, use of single use products like coffee cups, bottles, straws etc.

And, the committee also stated that the tax should go towards improving recycling and reprocessing facilities.

The MPs say the charge would lead to 750 million fewer disposable cups being discarded as litter, incinerated or sent to landfill, and would generate £438m.

These were "well meaning", MPs said, but not enough to tackle the scale of cup waste in the UK.

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This week, Pret doubled the discount offered to customers who bring in a reusable coffee cup from 25p to 50p. It's also been suggested that the cups be phased out, with a full ban by 2023.

The last decade has brought about an explosion in the United Kingdom café culture, as the traditional English cup of tea has succumbed to its roasted rival, with the milky latte taking top spot as the nation's most popular takeaway hot drink, served in paper cups laminated with a plastic sheeting, which waterproof the containers and stop hot drinks leaking onto customer's hands.

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