25p 'latte levy' would boost recycling rates - MPs

25p 'latte levy' would boost recycling rates - MPs

25p 'latte levy' would boost recycling rates - MPs

"Disposable coffee cups are an avoidable waste problem and if the United Kingdom can not be confident of their future sustainability, the government should ban them", said Creagh.

Only three companies in the United Kingdom recycle coffee cups.

The MPs point out that while some coffee shops offer discounts for customers who bring their own cup, only 1 to 2% of coffee drinkers respond.

The MPs say throwaway cups should be prohibited altogether by 2023 if they are not all being recycled. The report calls for clearer labelling by retailers, to make customers aware that cups are either "not widely recycled" or "recyclable in store only', as is the case for cups from Starbucks and Costa, chains which both provide collection bins in every outlet".

The tax would fund plants capable of recycling the cups, persuade people to carry reusable cups and encourage the use of traditional ceramic mugs in workplaces, the report said.

Disposable cups can not be recycled by the normal systems because they are made from cardboard with a tightly bonded polyethylene liner, which is hard to remove, and means they are not accepted by paper mills.

Further funding to improve the UK's recycling infrastructure, the report continues, should come partly from increased producer compliance fees, something which was also recommended in the previous report from this inquiry, which focused on plastic bottles. The multi-layer material prevents the cup being recycled in exclusively paper or plastics recycling streams.

"It places an unfair and additional cost on coffee drinking consumers only - despite paper cups only contributing 0.7% of total paper packaging waste", he told BBC News. It's also been suggested that the cups be phased out, with a full ban by 2023.

In addition, the committee also has suggested that the government should set up a producer responsibility compliance fee structure that rewards packaging design which facilitates recycling and puts a fine on packaging, which is hard to recycle.

Mary Creagh MP added: "Most people are shocked and dismayed to hear that coffee cups are not recycled".

In October, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) established the Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group to examine ways to reduce litter and improve packaging recycling.

They said the disposable cups that majority used actually had a "shockingly low recycling rate" - less than 1 per cent.

"By generating greater volumes of cups for recycling this will create a market for the material, making cups more attractive to waste management companies and creating the potential for more schemes to be introduced to collect cups from a much wider range of locations such as offices and high street locations".

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