United Kingdom lawmakers back tax on disposable coffee cups

Coffee cup recycling

The government's environmental watchdog, the EAC (Environmental Audit Committee*) have today released a report recommending that a 25p charge is added to hot drinks served in disposable takeaway cups.

The chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh, said that 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups were thrown away in the United Kingdom every year, with nearly none recycled and 500,000 per day littered.

In a statement Friday, the committee said that revenue from the levy should be invested in reprocessing facilities and recycling "binfrastructure".

The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year.

Government sources said ministers were "open" to the idea of a coffee cup charge if evidence shows it would change behaviour.

Coffee shops have been pulling the wool over customers' eyes, telling us their cups can be recycled, when less than one per cent are. With that in mind, the committee has also asked that the government force coffee shops to label cups to inform consumers that they're not widely recycled. Spokesman Mike Turner said: 'The paper cups we manufacture in the United Kingdom are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and. are being recycled.

PCCRG is a voluntary body focused on increasing the recovery and recycling of paper cups.

A group of British MPs is calling for tougher action on disposable coffee cups.

Starbucks

Some coffee chains, including Costa and Pret a Manger, have introduced discounts for customers who bring their own cups to be filled.

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

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and campaigner, said: "The UK has woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare".

The full report, titled "Disposable Packaging: Coffee Cups", can be read on the EAC's website.

Numerous cups are printed with the three-arrow triangular "Mobius loop" symbol that eight out of ten people think means they can be put in the recycling.

MPs said: "It is unacceptable that coffee sellers are perpetuating customer confusion though their use of recycling labels and emphasis on the recyclability of coffee cups, despite the shockingly low recycling rate", the report said.

"By generating greater volumes of cups for recycling this will create a market for the material, making cups more attractive to waste management companies and creating the potential for more schemes to be introduced to collect cups from a much wider range of locations such as offices and high street locations".

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the committee's recommendations would be carefully considered.


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