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'Latte levy' of 25p urged by MPs in bid to cut cup waste

'Latte levy' of 25p urged by MPs in bid to cut cup waste
From BBC - January 4, 2018

MPs are calling for a 25p "latte levy" on disposal coffee cups - and a total ban unless recycling improves.

The Environmental Audit Committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

The MPs say throwaway cups should be prohibited altogether by 2023 if they are not all being recycled.

The government agrees plastic waste is a problem and will seek evidence on a tax on single-use plastics.

The committee's chair, Mary Creagh MP, said: "The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year - that's enough to circle the planet five and a half times.

"Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered. Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.

"The UK's coffee shop market is expanding rapidly, so we need to kick start a revolution in recycling."

The proposed 25p levy is being opposed by the makers of paper cups.

Mike Turner, of the Paper Cup Alliance, said paper cups were the most sustainable and safe solution for drinks on-the-go.

"The paper cups we manufacture in the UK are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and, through a number of facilities, are being recycled. We are committed to increasing recycling rates," he 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 MPs point out that while some coffee shops offer discounts for customers who bring their own cup, only 1 to 2% of coffee drinkers respond.

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

The plastic lining in coffee cups makes them costly to recycle, and the MPs say the businesses supplying and producing them do not bear the full costs of their disposal.

The Local Government Association is also pressing for tougher action on what it called the "scourge" of throw-away cups.

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