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05 January 2018, 12:14 | Rufus Hill
Call for 'latte levy' to cut disposable coffee cup waste
The government should also ensure that all disposable cups are recycled by 2023 or introduce a total ban if that target is not met, an Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report found.
MPs also called for a target to be set by the Government to ban all non-recyclable coffee cups by 2023 and increase charges for companies which do not invest in materials which can be reused, as in other countries.
At least 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year.
Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said: 'Almost none are recycled and half-a-million a day are littered. Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.
"The U.K.'s coffee shop market is expanding rapidly, so we need to kick start a revolution in recycling", she said. Spokesman Mike Turner said: 'The paper cups we manufacture in the United Kingdom are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and. are being recycled.
The last decade has brought about an explosion in the United Kingdom café culture, as the traditional English cup of tea has succumbed to its roasted rival, with the milky latte taking top spot as the nation's most popular takeaway hot drink, served in paper cups laminated with a plastic sheeting, which waterproof the containers and stop hot drinks leaking onto customer's hands.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "In our Programme for Government, we have already committed to examining ways to reduce the use of single-use items, such as through a possible levy on coffee cups".
The chain will partner with charity Hubbub to launch the London-based trial, and money generated from the charge will be used for studies into behaviour change and attitudes towards the uptake of reusable cups.
A lot of coffee shops offer discounts if people bring their own cup, but MPs claim that only 1-2 per cent of people actually take advantage of that. "If a sustainable recycling system for disposable coffee cups can not be set up by this date, they should be banned".
However, MPs criticised coffee chains for confusing customers by perpetuating the notion coffee cups are recyclable.
Disposable coffee cups are technically recyclable, but most are not because the United Kingdom has just three facilities that can split the paper and plastic components for recycling.
Gavin Ellis of environmental charity Hubbub said: 'Most consumers would look at that [symbol] and think if they put that in their mixed recycling bin that it will get recycled. "Those without in-store recycling should print cups with a 'not widely recycled" label'.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the committee's recommendations would be carefully considered.
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