A Mail Online infographic highlighting the scale of coffee cup dumping
MPs have suggested a 25p ‘latte levy’ could help reduce the mountain of up to five billion disposable coffee cups dumped each year, almost none of which are recycled.
The influential cross-party Commons environmental audit committee called for urgent action to tackle the throwaway menace – which some experts claim could raise £438million and lead to a 30 per cent reduction in the number of cups by persuading more people to carry their own.
The committee said the industry should be given five years to make the cups easy to recycle or face an outright ban. It warned that voluntary approaches to combating the issue had failed and that government action was needed to deal with the ‘avoidable problem’.
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.
Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – whose BBC show Hugh’s War on Waste first drew attention to the paper cup problem – told the Mail Online the report showed the UK had ‘finally woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare’.
Numbers of the throwaway cups have hugely increased in recent years. Although looking like paper, they have a polypropylene plastic lining which just three specialist mills in the UK are equipped to deal with.
The vast majority end up in landfill or incineration, with 500,000 a day dropped as litter – prompting the Daily Mail to launch a high-profile Curb the Cups campaign, putting pressure on the coffee giants to do more to encourage recycling.