Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Industry responds to coffee cups report

A latte levy is only the start when it comes to tackling coffee cup waste Industry responds to coffee cups report
Andrew Cummings | 05 January, 2018, 13:41

COFFEE lovers should be charged 25p for disposable cups, with revenue used to pay for improved recycling, MPs have urged.

Further sicking up then "one the go" theme, CIWM CEO Dr Colin Church added:"This EAC report provides a useful summary of the challenges we face in developing a more sustainable approach to both disposable coffee cups and, by extension, single-use "on the go" food contact packaging as a whole".

A cross-party committee called for urgent action to curb the mountain of up to five billion disposable coffee cups dumped each year, nearly none of which are recycled.

While looking like paper, they have a polypropylene plastic lining.

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

The cups are technically recyclable, but because they mix paper and plastic components there are only three recycling facilities in the United Kingdom that can deal with them.

The chief executive of one of the biggest waste and recycling operations in the United Kingdom has said that while taxes on takeaway coffee cups may provide a helpful nudge to consumers to abandon a throw-away culture, they won't bring about lasting change in isolation. While the report recommends that the money from the 25p charge goes toward this "infrastructure" - it makes way more sense to reduce the amount of plastic we demand in the first place, use of single use products like coffee cups, bottles, straws etc.

"Whether or not the Government is willing to consider a levy, there is still a lot more work to be done by all the stakeholders involved to develop a sensible solution to this very modern waste problem". If not achieved, the report states, an outright ban on coffee cups should be introduced.

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Starbucks said on Friday it would trial a 5p charge on takeaway coffee cups for three months in about 20 London cafes.

Labelling - make sure that customers know that cups are "not widely recycled" and how best to dispose of their cup (this will often mean taking it back to the coffee shop).

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

However, due to their plastic lining, customers who put them in the recyclable waste effectively contaminate it. The committee said the impact on consumer behaviour of the plastic bag charge - which reduced bag usage by more than 83% in the first year - showed consumers are more responsive to a charge than a discount.

Although some outlets give a discount to customers using their own cup, only 1-2 percent of buyers take up the offer, according to parliament's environmental audit committee which said a "latte levy" was needed instead.

Mary Creagh MP added: "Most people are shocked and dismayed to hear that coffee cups are not recycled".

Now the Environmental Audit Committee's plan to bring in a tax on disposable coffee cups is in the proposal stage.

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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