Doing the environment a solid, British MPs have called for a compulsory fee on disposable takeaway coffee cups. Proposed by the UK parliament's Environmental Audit Committee, the suggested 'latte levy' would charge customers an extra 25 pence, as part of a bid to reduce waste and encourage caffeine fiends to switch to reusable containers.
More than 2.5 billion cups are used in the UK every year, with half a million becoming litter each and every day. While they're difficult and expensive to recycle thanks to the plastic lining, it's not impossible. With less than one percent of cups being recycled, at present most are incinerated, exported or end up in landfill.
"The UK's coffee shop market is expanding rapidly, so we need to kickstart a revolution in recycling," said committee chair Mary Creagh. "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."
Fees collected would be invested into recycling facilities, and as the recycling rate for coffee cups improves, it's anticipated that the charge could be lowered. The proposal also suggests increasing the price of the cups for producers, if they're made from materials that are hard to recycle; improving labelling so that customers know if their one-off cup will be recycled by the store, stating "not widely recycled" and "recyclable in store only"; and banning disposable cups outright if the 2023 target isn't reached.