Saturday, 23 June, 2018

MPs call for 25p tax on disposable coffee cups

Experts estimated a 25p levy could raise £438million and lead to a 30 per cent reduction in the number of cups as more people carry their own. Last night Starbucks became the first firm to break ranks saying it would pilot a 5p charge in selected store Latte levy: Coffee cups could be banned by 2023
Kenneth Drake | 08 January, 2018, 03:54

MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have also called for disposable cups to be completely banned by 2023 unless they can be made recyclable.

Labelling - make sure that customers know that cups are "not widely recycled" and how best to dispose of their cup (this will often mean taking it back to the coffee shop).

We heard evidence that consumers are more responsive to a charge than a discount and that a charge on disposable cups could reduce use by up to 30%.

Nathan says that Pearlfisher now works with James Cropper, a paper supplier that is able to separate the polythene lining of paper cups from the paper. In the USA, 60 billion paper cups end up in landfills every year, according to industry estimates.

A 25p "latte levy" should be placed on disposable coffee cups and all must be recycled by 2023 or face being banned altogether, say MPs.

No major coffee chains apart from Starbucks have announced plans yet to charge customers for their disposable cups.

There is no United Kingdom or European market for contaminated paper food packaging, says the Environmental Audit Committee.

"The cups we sell now are as environmentally friendly as they can be but whether they get recycled I couldn't tell you". This keeps the drink warm and prevents the cardboard from becoming soggy.

"There's going to have to be a change to the recipe of the cups to make them degradable".

MPs say that the businesses that use them cover only a fraction of the cost of reprocessing the waste. Many coffee drinkers are not aware of this and put their cups into recycling bins.


"Whether or not the Government is willing to consider a levy, there is still a lot more work to be done by all the stakeholders involved to develop a sensible solution to this very modern waste problem".

Tax would raise prices by 10%.

The committee said it took account of the "Polluter Pays" principle that those who produce pollution should bear the costs of managing it.

Now some shops offer a discount of up to 50 pence to customers who bring their own reusable cups.

The partnership between Hubbub and Starbucks will see a five pence charge introduced in 20 to 25 central London stores from February in order to investigate the impact on customer behaviour. The money will be used to fund research by an environmental charity and behavioral change experts.

The sandwich chain Pret A Manger said last month that it will increase its discount for bringing a reusable cup from 25 pence to 50 pence from January 2018.

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".

But the committee said that a disincentive would be more effective than an incentive, citing the success of the 5-pence single-use plastic bag charge.

Mary Creagh, whose committee demanded the charge on all drinks bought in cups, said everyone buying coffee from shops like Starbucks, Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee should pressure the firms into doing more.

The issue is that although takeaway cups are made of paper, they are lined with polyethylene, which is hard to remove.

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