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Organisations Respond To The EAC's Calls For A "Latte Levy"

05 Января 2018

Chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "The committee has recognised that the huge mountain of disposable coffee cups is effectively unrecyclable, and is overwhelming and disrupting the nation's waste disposal systems, ultimately polluting our rivers and seas, and needs urgent action".

ACE also stated that it is working with local authorities and waste management organisations to include disposable cups in kerbside collections.

However, the London trial, which will run for three months starting in February, is an important first step by the USA chain - and the proposals are a victory for the Daily Mail's Curb the Cups campaign. The chain said its efforts to persuade customers to buy reusable cups had led to a 1.8% uptake.

The government now follows targets set by the EU Waste Directive for recycling paper and plastic, but none refers specifically to the mixed-material cups; moreover, there are no confirmed targets in place for once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

According to EAC, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away annually in the United Kingdom, with nearly none being recycled and half a million per day being littered.

Committee member Anna McMorrin, Labour MP for Cardiff North, said: "We all use them, but as the committee discovered hardly any are recycled and most are littered, resulting in 2.5bn a year being thrown away".

"We're calling for action to reduce the number of single use cups, promote reusable cups over disposable cups and to recycle all coffee cups by 2023", she said.

Less than 1 percent of coffee cups are recycled in Britain because of the tightly bonded plastic liner, the difficulties of recycling packaging which has been in contact with food and drink and a lack of facilities, the lawmakers said.

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A report published by the cross-party group says there is "no excuse for the reluctance we have seen from government and industry to address coffee cup waste".

Only one per cent of the cups sold by cafés "to-go" are recycled, most are sent for landfill or incineration.

He added that paper cups are the "most sustainable and safe solution" for drinks on the go.

But industry body The Paper Cup Alliance rejected the report's recommendations.

On Friday Starbucks said that it would start a three-month trial of a 5p paper cup charge in up to 25 London shops from next month.

No one likes to pay more, but charges work - most people carry a reusable shopping bag since the introduction of the plastic bag charge, and the idea is that a "latte levy" will encourage reusable alternatives, or "drinking in" with a china cup. "If a sustainable recycling system for disposable coffee cups can not be set up by this date, they should be banned".

If the target for recycling all disposable coffee cups by 2023 was not met, then the government should ban them altogether, the committee added.

Make companies pay for producing mixed material packaging which is hard to recycle (coffee cups are a paper shell with a plastic lining bonded to the paper). As the report notes, coffee cups are becoming an iconic symbol of wasteful behaviour in the same way that plastic carrier bags did, but the issues here are significantly more complex.

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Organisations Respond To The EAC's Calls For A