British parliamentary committee recommends levy on take-away coffee cups


The Environmental Audit Committee believes that all disposable coffee cups should be recycled by 2023.

"I am an expert in making fantastic coffee, but they (the cup manufacturers) are the ones with the knowledge and resources to be able to change". "Anything that would help facilitate the recycling of these cups is a good thing", he said.

"Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered".

Labour MP Mary Creagh, chair of the committee said: "Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and the government has sat on its hands".

"Creagh said: "Coffee shops have been pulling the wool over customers" eyes, telling us their cups can be recycled, when less than one per cent are".

Naturally the proposal is being opposed by the people who make the paper cups.

Mike Turner, of the Paper Cup Alliance, said paper cups were the most sustainable and safe solution for drinks on-the-go.

"The paper cups we manufacture in the United Kingdom are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and, through a number of facilities, are being recycled".

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"Taxing the morning coffee run will not address the issue of litter, but it will hurt consumers and impact already struggling High Streets".

Responding to this announcement, Dr Laura Foster of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said: "We totally agree with the committee that if 100 per cent recycling of coffee cups isn't reached by 2023, then there should be an outright ban on providing them - and that date should be set in stone".

In October 2015, Britain introduced a charge of 5 pence on all single-use plastic bags provided by large shops, which led to an 83 per cent reduction in United Kingdom plastic bags used in the first year.

But they added: "We are encouraged by industry action to increase the recycling of paper cups, with some major retail chains now offering discounts to customers with reusable cups".

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.

Numerous cups are printed with the three-arrow triangular "Mobius loop" symbol that eight out of ten people think means they can be put in the recycling.

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. Any stores that have in-house recycling options should also label their cups to reflect that. But the report said that the move was not going far enough and was not effective.