Economy

Coffee cup debate: government shies away from 'latte levy'

Coffee cup debate: government shies away from 'latte levy'

It follows the Daily Mail's campaign to Turn The Tide On Plastic by cutting down on waste and increasing recycling.

Creagh said the NAO review would enable her Committee to asses whether the Government has taken a robust approach to ensure high levels of recycling in the UK. In its inquiry, the Committee heard that a charge - such as that introduced on plastic bags - was the most effective way to change consumer behaviour.

Mary Creagh added: "Evidence to our inquiry demonstrated that charges work better than discounts for reducing the use of non-recyclable materials - as was the case with the plastic bag charge".

'By choosing to favour voluntary discounts for reusable cups, the Government is ignoring the evidence about what works'.

However in its official response, the Government said only that a charge was something they "could consider amongst other policy options".

However, MPs accused ministers of dragging their feet and called for urgent action, pointing out that there was no date set for the consultation's publication.

Friends of the Earth plastic-free campaigner Julian Kirby said: 'Government commitment to tackling coffee cup waste appears to be all froth and little substance. The amount that United Kingdom producers pay towards the collection and recycling of their products, through purchasing Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) from companies that recycle the waste or export it overseas, is only around 10 per cent of the cost, while elsewhere in Europe that figure is much higher.

"Packaging waste is contributing to the ever-growing levels of plastic pollution in the United Kingdom and overseas", she said. "The Government's response to my Committee's recommendation not only lacks ambition, and puts coffee in the "too difficult" Ministerial in-tray".

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"Major coffee cup manufacturers and retailers are already captured by the packaging waste regulations that require them to pay towards the recycling of the products they place on the market", the response said. "Disposable paper cups are recyclable", he said.

The EAC report also suggested a specific target for coffee cup recycling be introduced, with all cups disposed of in recycling bins to be recycled by 2023 - and called for a blanket ban on the item should this goal not be reached.

Takeout cups placed in general paper recycling bins are therefore likely to end up in landfill, with some 2.5 billion cups dumped this way annually.

During the inquiry, environment minister Therese Coffey MP told the committee that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group would examine coffee cups for their next project.

Ministers praised coffee retail chains for "taking action" to reduce single-use coffee cups, including offering discounts to customers using reusable cups.

Starbucks launched a three-month trial of a 5p disposable cup charge across 35 of its London stores last month.

Starbucks commissioned research found that nearly half (48%) of people surveyed said they would carry a reusable cup, saving money and reducing waste.

Do coffee shops offer ceramic cups by default rather than plastic cups?


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