Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

United Kingdom proposes 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

United Kingdom proposes 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups

Following an 83 percent reduction in use of plastic carrier bags in 2015, resulting from the 5p charge, charity Friends of the Earth is urging Environment Secretary Michael Gove to ban disposable cups that can not be recycled and force cafe chains to provide recycling bins.

In a statement, Starbucks said: "We will investigate the impact of a 5p charge on a paper cup, coupled with prominent marketing of reusable cups, on customer behaviour".

It's been dubbed the "latte levy" - a tax on the billions of takeaway coffee cups that Britons are throwing away every year.

"Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands", said committee chairwoman Mary Creagh, calling for a "revolution in recycling".

Creating the paper cups to feed the world's burgeoning coffee house culture sees some 6.5m trees felled every year.

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Edwin Harrison, an independent coffee shop owner in west London, said finding recyclable coffee cups is hard and fears that small businesses like his will suffer if the proposed levy is introduced.

They recommend he Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups should be recycled by 2023.

The parliamentary committee's final report says that throw-away cups should be banned by 2023 if they aren't all being recycled by that time. Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops.

It also offers a discount of 25 pence to customers who bring their own cups.

Britain produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year. The three-month trial will begin in February.

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Martin Kersh, Executive Director of the Foodservice Packaging Association, said that with the industry willing to fund greater recycling, a charge isn't necessary: "The recycling of paper cups is set to increase fast as the coffee cup industry and its customers have introduced a large-scale recycling facility".

"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".

As a result just one in 400 cups are recycled less than 0.25 per cent. "The plastic bag charge is proof that charges are highly effective at reducing packaging waste", said Creagh.

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 government must do the same and introduce the levy as soon as possible".

You may not know it, but taxpayers (you and me) pay for 90% of the cost incurred disposing of coffee cups.

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The Daily Mail has led calls to "curb the cups" and crack down on plastic, campaigning to protect the environment with measures such as a deposit scheme for plastic bottles and the 5p levy on disposable plastic carrier bags.

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