Starbucks trials 5p charge on disposable cups

Starbucks to test coffee cup charge as industry responds to EAC report

Appley Bridge Recycling Ltd is supporting a potential 25p "latte levy", which is a charge to be paid by customers in coffee shops for the use of a throwaway cup.

A report by the parliamentary environmental audit committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

A report on disposable coffee cups by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee said 2.5 billion were used in the United Kingdom every year, with only 0.25% being recycled, and producing 30,000 tonnes of waste annually.

The vast majority end up in landfill or incineration, with 500,000 a day dropped as litter.

"We're calling for action to reduce the number of single-use cups, promote reusable cups over disposable cups and to recycle all coffee cups by 2023", she said.

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A report published by the cross-party group says there is "no excuse for the reluctance we have seen from government and industry to address coffee cup waste". At this scale, only one in every 400 cups is recycled.

They will need to work towards long-term systemic circular economy solutions, not just by offering customers choice but by offering them something which fixes the problem. "I am an expert in making fantastic coffee, but they [the cup manufacturers] are the ones with the knowledge and resources to be able to change".

"As we increase our understanding of pollution and non-recyclable plastics on our streets and in our seas, its impact on wildlife, then educating the public on how they can play their part is going to be critical".

A spokesperson for the British Coffee Association said the proposed levy would place an unfair cost on coffee drinking consumers alone-despite the fact that other types of packaging are responsible for far more paper waste.

Nathan says that Pearlfisher now works with James Cropper, a paper supplier that is able to separate the polythene lining of paper cups from the paper.

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"The public needs a simple, United Kingdom wide solution, one which is made possible by the introduction of an on-the-go waste management infrastructure".

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

The committee also wants producers to pay more for packaging which is hard to recycle, and to improve labelling to educate consumers about how best to dispose of their cups.

"But the plastic coating protects against hot liquids. It is recognised that there must be investment to improve the nation's limited "on the go" recycling collection infrastructure and to support the technology and capacity investments that are needed to ensure that materials collected are efficiently recycled with quality at the heart of the process".

The Grocer has contacted Pret and Costa for comment.

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