Customers should pay 'latte levy' for their disposable coffee cups, urge MPs

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
The report found uptake of discounts by using reusable cups was minimal

Customers should be charged an extra 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups, according to the Environmental Audit Committee.

Based on the report, Disposable packaging: Coffee Cups, the Environmental Audit Committee has called on government to use money raised from the charge to improve the UK’s recycling infrastructure and recycling facilities.

It also set a target for all disposable cups to be recycled by 2023, arguing government should ban disposable cups if this target is not met.

Although some coffee shops provide discounts for customers who bring their own cup, the report found only 1-2% of coffee purchases took advantage of the offer.

It concluded that consumers are more responsive to a charge than a discount.

Mary Creagh, Environmental Audit Committee chair, said: “A reusable cup is one of the easiest ways to reduce cup waste but the discounts offered by coffee companies are ineffective. The plastic bag charge is proof that charges are highly effective at reducing packaging waste.”

The report also argued producers should be made to pay more for difficult to recycle packaging and labels should be improved to educate consumers on how to dispose of their cup.

Creagh added: “Taxpayers are footing the bill for disposing of billions of coffee cups thrown away each year, whether or not they are coffee drinkers. It is only right that producers should bear more of the financial burden to help recycle their packaging.”

Industry leaders such as Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, have welcomed the recommendations.

She said: “The millions of coffee cups that end up as litter every year blight our environment and we welcome the committee’s call for a 25p charge on these cups to encourage people to switch to reusable cups.

“We also believe that setting a target for recycling of all disposable coffee cups by 2023 would be a great way to focus minds.”

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