UK Lawmakers Propose 'Latte Levy' To Cut Coffee Cup Waste

A latte levy is only the start when it comes to tackling coffee cup waste

The Environmental Audit Committee has called the British government to introduce a 25p levy on single-use takeaway coffee cups and have urged for the need for all the cups to be recycled by 2023.

The report says disposable coffee cups are "made from paper and lined with plastic" which renders them waterproof.

The UK throws away 2.5bn coffee cups each year, the committee was told.

Many retailers sell cups bearing the Mobius Loop and other recycling symbols, but while the cups can be deposited at some retailers and soon at bring banks coordinated by the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK), they cannot be placed in mixed or paper-specific recycling bins - the resultant contamination can lead to more waste going to landfill.

Whether coffee shops want to adopt a "latte levy" is a different question.

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The government should also set a target to recycle all disposable coffee cups by 2023, and ban the cups if it fails to meet the goal, the panel said.

It's not just MPs making plans to tackle the issue of coffee cup waste.

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at campaign group the Marine Conservation Society, said: "A charge added to our coffee at the point of purchase will help consumers think about whether to take a refillable cup to the café and encourage cafés to use traditional cups and mugs rather than hand out single-use cups when it's not necessary".

The committee's report states: 'There is no excuse for the reluctance we have seen from Government and industry to address coffee cup waste. Pret a Manger CEO Clive Schlee, writing for HuffPost about the chain's recent decision to introduce a 50p discount for customers bringing a reusable cup, said: "We debated whether charging people for using paper cups felt right".

"The UK has woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare", celebrity chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, said in a statement welcoming the report.

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"Disposable coffee cups may only represent a small fraction of the national annual tonnage of card and plastics produced which are lost from our recycling streams, but they leave the worst taste reminder of how on-the-go consumption can result in needless waste of our precious natural resources".

If the target of 100 percent recycling of disposable cups is not achieved by 2023, then the government is called to put a ban disposable cups similar to the one now imposed on plastic bags.

However, due to their plastic lining, customers who put them in the recyclable waste effectively contaminate it. "We agree with the committee that if complete recycling of coffee cups isn't reached by 2023, then there should be an outright ban on providing them - and that date should be set in stone". Cafes with in-store recycling systems should print their cups with "recyclable in store only", the MPs add.

"We will carefully consider the committee's recommendations and respond shortly", she said.

The lawmakers have also recommended the government to charge more from producers for their packaging which are hard to recycle as well as improve labeling in order to educate consumers on how to dispose of their cup in best possible way.

Irish manufacturing growth ends 2017 at record high
According to data compiled by Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, manufacturers ended the 2017 year stagnant. The NBS also said that China's official nonmanufacturing PMI rose to 55 in December, up from 54.8 in November.

Mr Stemman said the industry should continue to focus on other environmental issues such as cutting water use, carbon reduction, and turning waste coffee grounds into biofuel.

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