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United Kingdom needs 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups to cut waste - lawmakers

United Kingdom needs 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups to cut waste - lawmakers

The US firm said it would trial a 5p charge on its cups at up to 25 of its London coffee shops in wake of the MPs' report.

Over the course of the inquiry, the committee heard that the UK's total annual coffee cup waste (30,000 tonnes) is enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall and estimates suggest that by 2025 more than 3.75 billion disposable cups could be used per year, yet just 0.25 per cent of those now used are recycled.

The Irish parliament is considering banning single-use coffee cups whilst the German city Hamburg said in 2016 that it will no longer use coffee-makers with aluminium capsules in its own offices or buildings.

"The paper cups we manufacture in the United Kingdom are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and, through a number of facilities, are being recycled".

However, the EA committee said although some cup manufacturers and coffee shops had made voluntary commitments to recycle coffee cups, they are "inconsistent, and lack quantifiable targets and structure".

"Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered".

"The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year, enough to circle the planet five and a half times", she said in a statement.

Chains Pret A Manger, Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero and Greggs alongside USA firm Starbucks are among the biggest coffee-sellers in Britain and have rapidly expanded in the last 10 years to meet increasing demand.

"It is unacceptable that coffee sellers are perpetuating customer confusion though their use of recycling labels and emphasis on the recyclability of coffee cups, despite the shockingly low recycling rate", the report said.

He said that although disposable coffee cups only represent a small fraction of the national annual tonnage of card and plastics waste, "they leave the worst taste reminder of how on-the-go consumption can result in needless waste of our precious natural resources". Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops.

2017 at the Box Office
The amount does not include the sales for the Star Wars attractions at its theme parks and movie merchandising. Star Wars: The Force Awakens kicked things off in 2015 with a whopping $2.068 billion globally.

However, MPs criticised coffee chains for confusing customers by perpetuating the notion coffee cups are recyclable.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) suggested revenue from the so-called "Latte levy" should be used to boost Britain's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

The chain said its efforts to persuade customers to buy reusable cups had led to a 1.8% uptake.

Money raised from the trial will be used to fund a behavioural change study, undertaken by environmental charity group Hubbub, on how customers can be encouraged to use reusable cups.

Britain produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said the 5p plastic bag charge is proof that "these levies work".

He said that for the so-called "latte levy" to be more than just "a light and frothy foam nod to reform" the United Kingdom needs to invest more in sustainable product design, use more recyclable materials and be better at "capturing" materials at the end of their life.

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

Other measures recommended by the committee include producers paying more for packaging, and improved labelling so consumers know how best to dispose of their cup.

"A "latte levy" of 25p will remind people that their normal coffee cup is typically lined with plastic making it hard to recycle, with more than 99 per cent of them destined for landfill or incineration".

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