MPs call for 25p tax on disposable coffee cups

MPs call for 25p tax on disposable coffee cups

MPs call for 25p tax on disposable coffee cups

A report by the committee says that disposable coffee cups should be banned unless nearly all are recycled by 2023.

In the report's conclusions it said: "To ensure that disposable coffee cups and other types of paper food packaging are captured and recycled, the revenue from the 25p coffee cup charge should be used to support local councils to provide food packaging recycling bins and waste management".

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the committee, says the UK's coffee shop industry is "expanding rapidly", so it's necessary to take action now to kickstart a "revolution" in cup recycling.

"Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered".

A target of all single-use cups to be recycled by 2023 is also recommended in the report, as well as an overhaul of the United Kingdom producer responsibility scheme, something discussed with regards to plastic bottles in the EAC's previous report.

A lot of coffee shops offer discounts if people bring their own cup, but MPs claim that only 1-2 per cent of people actually take advantage of that.

"We will begin the trial in February and initially it will last for three months", the firm said, adding that it continued to offer a 25p discount to customers who brought their own reusable cups.

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.

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

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). Neil Whittall, its Head of Coffee, said: "Whilst paper cups are fully recyclable, the industry recognises that many are not being recycled because of a lack of collection facilities".

"We recognise there is growing concern about the number of single-use paper cups being used and that our customers are interested in ways we can help them reduce, reuse and recycle", said a Starbucks spokeswoman.

He said that although disposable coffee cups only represent a small fraction of the national annual tonnage of card and plastics waste, "they leave the worst taste reminder of how on-the-go consumption can result in needless waste of our precious natural resources".

According to a report released by EAC on Friday (5 January), the United Kingdom produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year and an eye-watering 500,000 cups are thrown away each day.

"We will carefully consider the committee's recommendations and respond shortly", she said.

"Taxing the morning coffee run will not address the issue of litter, but it will hurt consumers and impact already struggling High Streets".

The report says disposable coffee cups are "made from paper and lined with plastic" which renders them waterproof.

Following the success of the plastic bag charge, they have concluded that consumers respond more to sticks than to carrots.

However, MPs criticised coffee chains for confusing customers by perpetuating the notion coffee cups are recyclable.

Britain produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year.

"By singling out disposable cups the committee is, by its own admission, looking for United Kingdom coffee retailers and their cup providers to underwrite the waste management of all packaging used on the go", he said.

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