United Kingdom lawmakers back tax on disposable coffee cups

Coffee cup recycling

The Committee's report also recommends that all single-use coffee cups are recycled by 2023, and if this isn't in effect by then that there is an outright coffee cup ban.

In a statement Friday, the committee said that revenue from the levy should be invested in reprocessing facilities and recycling "binfrastructure".

According to EAC, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away annually in the United Kingdom, with nearly none being recycled and half a million per day being littered. Half a million cups are thrown away every day, with nearly all of them incinerated, exported or landfilled.

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at campaign group the Marine Conservation Society, said: "A charge added to our coffee at the point of purchase will help consumers think about whether to take a refillable cup to the café and encourage cafés to use traditional cups and mugs rather than hand out single-use cups when it's not necessary".

The report accused coffee shops of "pulling the wool over the eyes" of consumers by suggesting all cups get recycled when fewer than 1 per cent do.

The lawmakers have also recommended the government to charge more from producers for their packaging which are hard to recycle as well as improve labeling in order to educate consumers on how to dispose of their cup in best possible way.

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.

PCCRG is a voluntary body focused on increasing the recovery and recycling of paper cups. "We're calling for clearer labelling so people can make informed choices about their use and disposal of 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.

'Taxing the morning coffee run will not address the issue of litter but it will hurt consumers and impact already struggling high streets'.

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.

"The environmental audit committee has recognised that the huge mountain of disposable coffee cups is effectively unrecylable, and is overwhelming and disrupting the nation's waste disposal systems".

Its environment spokesman, Martin Tett, said: "We have long called for industry to step up and show more responsibility in tackling this issue". Neil Whittall, its Head of Coffee, said: "Whilst paper cups are fully recyclable, the industry recognises that many are not being recycled because of a lack of collection facilities. Those without in-store recycling should print cups with a 'not widely recycled" label'.

The committee's recommendations were welcomed by environmental campaigners.

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