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UK Government rejects latte levy on disposable coffee cups

PKBR Staff Writer Published 12 March 2018

The UK Government has rejected a proposal from the Environment Audit Committee (EAC) to introduce a latte levy on disposable coffee cups.

Earlier this year, the EAC has urged the government to charge 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups, in a bid to cut down plastic waste. The charged money could then be used fund recycling measures.

In the EAC’s report on paper cups, the government was also urged to ensure that all coffee cups are recycled by 2023 or introduce a ban on the disposable cups if that target is not reached.

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

However, the government rejected the proposal, instead had opted to rely on voluntary discounts for reusable cups.

In response, EAC chair Mary Creagh said: “The UK’s throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas. Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis. The government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action.”

The government suggested that shops should offer voluntary discounts to reusable cups for its customers.

The government said: “Coffee cups make up 0.7% of total paper packaging waste in the UK. We believe it is important to look at the packaging producer responsibility system and waste management system as a whole, in order to drive the best environmental outcomes.”

The EAC also recommended labeling on coffee cup which would state if the cups can be recycled.

The government, however, responded to the recommendation from the committee by focusing instead on voluntary anti-litter labeling instead, EAC said.

Creagh added: “Evidence shows that while 90% of people put their coffee cup in recycling bins, only 0.25% are recycled due to inadequate infrastructure. The government’s anti-littering labeling proposal completely misses the point.

“Consumers deserve to know if their coffee cup will be recycled or not. The government’s response to my committee’s recommendation not only lacks ambition, and puts coffee in the ‘too difficult’ ministerial in-tray.”

Image: A disposable cup. Photo: courtesy of Parliamentary Copyright.