Call for 'latte levy' to cut cup waste is backed by MPs

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In the United Kingdom 2.5bn takeaway coffee cups are used and thrown away each year - enough to stretch around the world five-and-a-half-times.

David Palmer-Jones, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ recycling and recovery United Kingdom said: "Taxes on takeaway coffee cups may provide a helpful nudge to consumers to abandon a throw-away culture, but for lasting change, proposals like these need to be part of wider, joined-up reform that shifts the burden of responsibility for all forms of packaging content, recyclability and ultimately their collection, back to the producer".

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

"Now there's no way this horrendous and avoidable problem can be put back to sleep". Coffee shops have been sending out mixed messages for years, emphasising that their cups are "recyclable" and staying silent on the fact they are not actually recycled.

Foodservice Packaging Association executive director Martin Kersh fears a ban on disposable cups would cause some coffee shops to close.

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

U.S chain Starbucks will trial a 5 pence levy at up to 25 London branches in February for three months.

Sandwich chain Pret a Manger has announced that it is doubling the discount for customers who bring in reusable cups to 50p.

Ms McMorrin said the Welsh Government had "led the way in the UK" by introducing a charge for carrier bags and "we've seen single-use carrier bag usage drop by 71%".

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"Take-away coffee cups may look like cardboard through-and-through but on the inside they are lined with a plastic, making them hard to recycle and resulting in 99 per cent of them being destined for landfill or incineration".

The committee last month recommended the government introduce a plastic bottle deposit scheme to cut plastic waste and leakage into the oceans.

"We are encouraged by industry action to increase the recycling of paper cups with some major retail chains now offering discounts to customers with reusable cups", said a ministry spokeswoman.

The Liberal Democrats said they had been campaigning for a charge on coffee cups since September 2016 and were the only party to include the policy in their 2017 election manifesto.

"We urge the government to ensure that if any potential tax is considered, that it is ring-fenced and used specifically to invest in new "binfrastructure" and to improve recycling processes with local authorities that make it easier to separate and stream paper cups and other waste products".

It also pointed out that now cup producers only contribute around 10 per cent of the cost of disposing of the coffee cups "leaving the taxpayer to foot the rest".

Caffe Nero said it was working with others to understand and address the issues which prevent the widespread recycling of paper cups.

"The UK's coffee shop market is expanding rapidly, so we need to kick start a revolution in recycling".

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