25p 'latte levy' would boost recycling rates - MPs

Starbucks will trial charging customers 5p extra for disposable cups

Starbucks will trial charging customers 5p extra for disposable cups

A number of waste and resources organisations, including CIWM, have this morning responded to calls from the Environmental Audit Committee for a 25p levy on disposable coffee cups, in its latest report, "Disposable Packaging: Coffee Cups".

They said the disposable cups that majority used actually had a "shockingly low recycling rate" - less than 1 per cent.

At least 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year.

Disposable cups can not be recycled by the normal systems because they are made from cardboard with a tightly bonded polyethylene liner, which is hard to remove, and means they are not accepted by paper mills.

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

The 25 pence charge would go towards improving Britain's recycling and reprocessing facilities, the report said.

MPs also called for a target to be set by the Government to ban all non-recyclable coffee cups by 2023 and increase charges for companies which do not invest in materials which can be reused, as in other countries.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and campaigner, said: "The UK has woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare".

Labour MP Mary Creagh, chair of the committee said: "Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and the government has sat on its hands".

Russian Daily Oil Output Edges Up in 2017 to 30-Year High
However, rising US production, which is on the verge of breaking through 10 million bpd, has tempered the bullish outlook. Oil prices were up slightly on Thursday as a pipeline outage in Britain continued to lift Brent crude prices.

The government now follows targets set by the EU Waste Directive for recycling paper and plastic, but none refers specifically to the mixed-material cups; moreover, there are no confirmed targets in place for once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. If not achieved, the report states, an outright ban on coffee cups should be introduced. The chain said its efforts to persuade customers to buy reusable cups had led to a 1.8% uptake.

In response, Starbucks said it would try out a 5p cup charge in 20 to 25 central London outlets.

However, the EA committee said although some cup manufacturers and coffee shops had made voluntary commitments to recycle coffee cups, they are "inconsistent, and lack quantifiable targets and structure".

Cropper takes cups collected by coffee retailers instore recycling bins, removes the plastic and turns them into luxury paper and packaging products.

This was welcomed by the committee, which heard evidence during the inquiry that consumer confusion around coffee cups is contributing to poor recycling rates.

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

However, due to their plastic lining, customers who put them in the recyclable waste effectively contaminate it. Often described as "recyclable", such cups are only very rarely actually recycled.

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. "No packaging type is totally recycled and a ban on paper cups would hit manufacturing jobs and damage a growing service industry which makes a major contribution to UK Plc", said Mike Turner, Speaking on behalf of the Alliance.

Latest News