EAC accuses government of lack of action over coffee cup recycling

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Coffee cups make up 0.7% of total paper packaging waste

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has accused the government of not taking any decisive action on the issue of coffee cups and have repeated calls for a "latte levy".

In a response to the government’s select committee report, the EAC published a series of recommendations, including a government target of all single use coffee cups to be recycled by 2023.

As coffee cups make up just 0.7% of total paper packaging waste in the UK, government has said it wants to look at the packaging producer responsibility system and waste management system as a whole.

However the EAC has recommended that coffee shop companies work together through the existing Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group to agree the design of a disposable cup which can be easily recycled.

It also argued for greater clarity for consumers who are wrongly led to believe that disposable coffee cups are widely recycled due to recycling labels on the packaging.

When addressing the complicated issue of packaging recovery notes, the EAC called for government to introduce a compliance fee structure that reduces the cost of recyclable and sustainable cups and raises the cost of cups which are difficult to recycle.

It also argued that government should reduce the minimal requirement for participation in the PRO scheme to include companies that place more than one tonne of packaging on the market.

This would give “greater financial responsibility for the type of packaging they put on the market”, according to the EAC.

Mary Creagh EAC chair, said: “The government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action.

“I expect to see a challenging target specifically for coffee cups in the upcoming Resources and Waste Strategy to significantly improve the recycling rate up from the current 0.25%”

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