MPs are calling for a 25p charge to be added to the cost of takeaway hot drinks served in disposable cups to help cut down waste and improve recycling facilities.
The “latte levy” follows a report that claims 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK - enough to stretch around the world five and a half times - but less than one in 400 - just 0.25% - are recycled.
The low level of recycling is attributed to the fact that there are not adequate facilities in the UK to separate the plastic film lining from the paper, meaning they are not currently widely recyclable in most local authority recycling centres.
The UK produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year. This accounts for 0.1% of total UK waste and just 0.7% of UK packaging waste. However, MPs are concerned about the rapid growth of the coffee shop industry and believe consumers are more responsive to a charge than a discount and that a charge on disposable cups could reduce use by up to 30%.
MPs want to see the revenue generated by the levy invested in reprocessing facilities and “binfrastructure” so that all disposable cups are recycled by 2023. If not, they are calling for the Government to step in and ban their use completely.