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05 January 2018, 01:40 | Myrtle Vega
Latte levy: Coffee cups could be banned by 2023
Yet if the 25p tax, advocated today by Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee headed by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, changes behaviour, encourages recycling and reduces the amount of discarded plastic, it's a small price to pay - the United Kingdom throws away 2.5 billion disposal coffee cups every year. 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.
"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.
United Kingdom politicians want the government to introduce a 25p (33 cents) "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups in an effort to eliminate waste.
The Committee added that the money raised will be used to improve the UK's recycling "binfrastructure" and reprocessing facilities.
To coincide with the launch of the report, Committee chair Mary Creagh MP said a revolution in recycling is needed given the United Kingdom coffee shop market's continued expansion and the current inadequate action on coffee cup waste.
SUEZ recycling and recovery United Kingdom serves around 12 million people and handles around 10 million tonnes of waste each year.
Government sources said ministers were "open" to the idea of a coffee cup charge if evidence shows it would change behaviour. But, the problem is: the plastic lining "can't be removed by most recycling facilities".
Time to crack out your reusable cups?
Starbucks said on Friday it would trial a 5p charge on takeaway coffee cups for three months in about 20 London cafes.
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Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President at Veolia UK & Ireland, highlighted the progress it had already made in pioneering coffee cup recycling, working in partnership with Costa, Starbucks and McDonald's.
Only one per cent of the cups sold by cafés "to-go" are recycled, most are sent for landfill or incineration.
"Taxing the morning coffee run will not address the issue of litter, but it will hurt consumers and impact already struggling High Streets".
Starbucks also began trialling a fully-recyclable coffee cup, invented by the entrepreneur and engineer Martin Myerscough, in some of its United Kingdom branches in June a year ago.
David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery, remarked that while the tax may be helpful, it has to be part of a wider reform that "shifts the burden of responsibility for all forms of packaging content, recyclability and ultimately their collection, back to the producer".
The cross-industry collaboration aims included to work towards delivering a long-term, nationwide paper cup recycling solution which builds on the recycling activities achieved so far by the paper cup industry.
Additionally, it said that producers needed to pay more for packaging that proved hard to recycle, and that labeling needed to be improved so that consumers knew how to properly dispose of their cups.
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