Skip to main content

Tax on disposable coffee cups gains steam

| Going green

British lawmakers called on the government on Friday to impose a charge on disposable coffee cups and set a target to recycle all of them by 2023 - or ban them altogether.

Around 2.5 billion plastic-lined paper cups are used in Britain each year, but less than one in 400 are recycled, MPs on the environmental audit committee warned in a new report.

"Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands," said committee chair Mary Creagh, calling for a "revolution in recycling".

The report proposed a 25 pence "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups, saying the money raised could be used to improve recycling facilities.

Coffee cups are difficult to recycle, due to the plastic liner which makes them waterproof.

The MPs urged ministers to set a target that all such cups be recycled by 2023, and "if this target is not achieved, the government should ban disposable coffee cups".

Re-usable cups

Several leading coffee shop chains in Britain, including the largest, Costa, offer discounts for customers who use their own re-usable cups.

Pret A Manger, which has 329 sandwich shops across the country, this week doubled its discount to 50p.

But Creagh warned that such discounts had found to be "ineffective" - unlike charges, noting the success of a recent levy on plastic bags in England, which reduced their use by 83% in the first year.

Coffee chain Starbucks on Friday announced plans to introduce a 5p cup charge in around 20-25 of its shops in London that will go to environmental charities, saying that it too, had found discounts ineffective.

The three-month trial, beginning in February, will be a global first for the company, a spokesperson said.

Starbucks said it has offered discounts for using re-usable cups since 1998, starting at 10p and rising to 50p for a few months in 2016.

"We found that this did not move the needle in the way we thought it might. We now have 1.8 percent of our customers using reusable cups," it said in a statement.

In the trial, "we will be exploring the impact that a cup charge may have in changing behaviour in addition to the measures we, and the whole industry, are taking on cup recycling", Starbucks said.

Pin It

Related Articles

Woolworths launches Farming for the Future camp...

In a bold step towards supporting a more sustainable future and addressing the interconnected crises of climate change, water scarcity, and environmental degradation, Woolworths has launched a visionary Farming for the Future campaign, f...

Sustainable from seed to shelf: Woolworths hera...

Retailer's new Farming for the Future campaign aims to inspire transformative action in agriculture to help mitigate climate change

Woolworths pilots the removal of plastic barrie...

In support of the 2024 Earth Day theme “Planet vs Plastic”, Woolworths announced a 12-store trial to remove plastic barrier bags from its stores.

World Water Day: Shoprite donates bottled water...

Shoprite donates 7000 litres of bottled water to various Early Childhood Development education centres in the Verulam area.

Shoprite Group leads SA retailers in addressing...

By: Staff Reporter – IOL Business The Shoprite Group said it has cemented its position as South Africa’s top-rated retailer for corporate disclosure, transparency and performance on climate change and water security.