British MPs Demand a “Latte Levy” on Disposable Coffee Cups
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
British MPs waging a war on plastic are demanding a “latte levy”, to try to contain the growing environmental catastrophe caused by millions of latte sipping city dwellers discarding their coffee cups after a single use.
‘Latte levy’ of 25p urged by MPs in bid to cut cup waste
By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst
5 January 2018
MPs are calling for a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups – and a total ban unless recycling improves.
A report by 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.
In response, Starbucks said it would try out a 5p cup charge in 20 to 25 central London outlets.
“We will begin the trial in February and initially it will last for three months,” the firm said, adding that it continued to offer a 25p discount to customers who brought their own reusable cups.
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.”
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Concerns about recycling and waste disposal have risen in Europe, since China banned imports of foreign waste back in October. Waste and recycling is a sensitive issue in Britain, substantial quantities of waste which is supposed to be recycled seems to end up in landfill or incinerators.
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