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Industry responds to coffee cups report

Industry responds to coffee cups report”

A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee suggests a levy of 25p a cup, with the money being used to improve recycling and reprocessing facilities here in the UK.

Over the course of the inquiry, the committee heard that the UK's total annual coffee cup waste (30,000 tonnes) is enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall and estimates suggest that by 2025 more than 3.75 billion disposable cups could be used per year, yet just 0.25 per cent of those now used are recycled.

According to a report released by EAC on Friday (5 January), the United Kingdom produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year and an eye-watering 500,000 cups are thrown away each day.

"The UK has woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare", celebrity chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, said in a statement welcoming the report.

Takeaway beverage chains including Caffè Nero, Costa Coffee, McDonald's, Pret A Manger and Starbucks have signed up to a scheme to collect and recycle more of the current types of cup.

A cross party committee of MPs is calling for a 25p tax on single use coffee cups, and wants them to be banned if an effective way of recycling them can not be established.

EAC chair Mary Creagh MP said: "Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and Government has sat on its hands".

Industry responds to coffee cups report

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". Cafes with in-store recycling systems should print their cups with "recyclable in store only", the MPs add. The three-month trial will begin in February.

The chain said its efforts to persuade customers to buy reusable cups had led to a 1.8% uptake.

The consultancy, which is a charity, will use the funds to run a behaviour change study, helping Starbucks to understand how the public can be encouraged to choose reusable drink containers.

Britain produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year. "The government must do the same and introduce the levy as soon as possible". "It is only right that producers should bear more of the financial burden to help recycle their packaging, so my committee is calling for producer responsibility reform that rewards businesses that use sustainable packaging - and makes those that don't face higher charges".

These were "well meaning", MPs said, but not enough to tackle the scale of cup waste in the UK.

The government's environmental watchdog, the EAC (Environmental Audit Committee*) have today released a report recommending that a 25p charge is added to hot drinks served in disposable takeaway cups.

In his Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond described plastic waste as a "scourge" and announced that he and Environment Secretary Michael Gove would investigate a single-use plastic tax to reduce waste.

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