MPs call for 25p charge on takeaway coffee cups ahead of possible ban

11 April 2018

In the UK 2.5bn disposable cups are thrown away each year, of which less than 0.25% are recycled, according to the environmental audit committee report. This is enough to stretch around the world five-and-a-half-times, the UK produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year.

MPs are calling for a 25p levy on coffee bought in takeaway cups to be used to reduce the number of cups thrown away and invest in reprocessing facilities. The introduction of a ban on throwaway coffee cups if a target that all takeaway cups are recyclable by 2023 is not met. Coffee chains to pay more towards disposing of cups and improved labelling to better educate consumers.

Disposable cups cannot be recycled by the normal systems because they are made from cardboard with a tightly bonded polyethylene liner, which is difficult to remove, and means they are not accepted by paper mills, as a result just one in 400 cups are recycled. Half a million coffee cups are littered each day in the UK.

Some coffee shops provide discounts for customers who bring their own cup, uptake of these offers is low at only 1-2% of coffee purchases. 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.

Here at prestige hygiene are intrigued to see what the outcome will be in the next couple of years.

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