Calls for recycling “latte levy” in the UK

British members of parliament have argued for the establishment of a latte levy to reduce disposable coffee cup waste and help fund recycling.

ABC News reported the UK Parliament’s environmental audit committee also recommended a ban on disposable coffee cups if they are not all recyclable by 2023. The committee found barely any of the more than two billion coffee cups that are tossed away each year are recyclable.

“The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year; enough to circle the planet five and a half times,” committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said.

“Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.”

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MPs want disposable cups from cafes that do not recycle the items in store to be labelled with “not widely recycled” for consumers to see. The proposed latte levy would be a compulsory 25 pence (40 cents).

The committee said a disincentive would be more effective than an incentive, highlighting the success of the 5-pence single-use plastic bag charge.

“We’ve seen with the plastic bag charge an 83 per cent reduction in plastic bag use,” Ms Creagh said.

“We think the ‘latte levy’ will be the sort of charge that will really make people think, ‘Hang on a minute, I need to bring my cup to work today’, in the same way that they’re now moving more and more to reusable plastic bottles.”

A spokesperson for the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told ABC News the committee’s recommendations would be carefully considered.