MPs call for 25p 'latte levy' 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

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".

A committee of MPs at Westminster has called for a 34 USA cents latte levy on disposable coffee cups.

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

David Palmer-Jones, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ recycling and recovery United Kingdom said: "Taxes on takeaway coffee cups may provide a helpful nudge to consumers to abandon a throw-away culture, but for lasting change, proposals like these need to be part of wider, joined-up reform that shifts the burden of responsibility for all forms of packaging content, recyclability and ultimately their collection, back to the producer".

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.

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Disposable coffee cups are made from paper and lined with plastic, which makes them waterproof.

PCCRG is a voluntary body focused on increasing the recovery and recycling of paper cups. Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops. At this scale, only one in every 400 cups is recycled. But just 1 to 2% of customers do this.

"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".

Starbucks is the only coffee chain charging customers for disposable cups at and that, for now, is for a trial period.

Green Party lawmaker and EAC committee member Caroline Lucas told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the reforms were "long overdue" and hoped that they would change behaviour.

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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said the 5p plastic bag charge is proof that "these levies work".

On the same day that MPs have recommended a 25 pence charge be added to all drinks sold in a disposable paper cup in the United Kingdom, environmental campaign charity Hubbub has announced plans with Starbucks to put the suggestion to the test.

"The public needs a simple, United Kingdom wide solution, one which is made possible by the introduction of an on-the-go waste management infrastructure".

In his Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond described plastic waste as a "scourge" and announced that he and Environment Secretary Michael Gove would investigate a single-use plastic tax to reduce waste. The polythene lining residue is then moved on to another supplier and recycled into products such as plastic tubing and cable wraps.

However, MPs said that while the efforts were "well meaning", they were also "inconsistent and need targets" to be imposed by the government, highlighting the fact only two of the major coffee chains agreed to give evidence was troubling.

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