Charge on coffee cups to boost recycling proposed by United Kingdom lawmakers

08 January, 2018, 03:57 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Starbucks

Commenting on the paper cups report, the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCCRG) said that improvements to infrastructure, alongside changing consumer behavior through education and conveniently located collection/recycling points could create more sustainable paper cup supply chain.

The MPs say the charge would lead to 750 million fewer disposable cups being discarded as litter, incinerated or sent to landfill, and would generate £438m.

The tax would reduce in line with improved recycling rates for coffee cups.

Around 2.5 billion plastic-lined paper cups are used in Britain each year, but less than one in 400 are recycled, MPs on the environmental audit committee warned in a new report.

David Palmer-Jones, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ recycling and recovery United Kingdom said: "Taxes on takeaway coffee cups may provide a helpful nudge to consumers to abandon a throw-away culture, but for lasting change, proposals like these need to be part of wider, joined-up reform that shifts the burden of responsibility for all forms of packaging content, recyclability and ultimately their collection, back to the producer".

Starbucks' website states: "Ever since we opened in the United Kingdom, 20 years ago, we have looked at ways to encourage and support the use of reusable cups".

"Disposable coffee cups may only represent a small fraction of the national annual tonnage of card and plastics produced which are lost from our recycling streams, but they leave the worst taste reminder of how on-the-go consumption can result in needless waste of our precious natural resources".

It added: "We recommend that the Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups disposed of in recycling bins should be recycled by 2023". In a recently published report, a House of Commons committee said the Government had "sat on its hands" as disposable coffee cup waste has grown to an estimated 25,000 tons per year.

Many major United Kingdom coffee shops give discounts of up to 50 pence (56 euro cents) to customers who bring their own cups.

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

Starbucks said it would also continue the 25 pence (28 euro cent) discount it already offers to customers who bring their own cup.

Starbucks also began trialling a fully-recyclable coffee cup, invented by the entrepreneur and engineer Martin Myerscough, in some of its United Kingdom branches in June past year.

Unsure of how else to hammer eco-mindedness into customers, Starbucks said today that it will try a preemptive cup charge of its own. The three-month trial will begin in February. Yet only 1-2% of customers take advantage of the offer.

"Finally, we will continue to remind customers through our in-store marketing about the ongoing 25p cup discount and the benefits of going reusable".

"We believe that more testing is required to assess the impact a charge may have on changing behaviour", Hubbub's chief executive Trewin Restorick said. "The government must do the same and introduce the levy as soon as possible".

The cross-industry collaboration aims included to work towards delivering a long-term, nationwide paper cup recycling solution which builds on the recycling activities achieved so far by the paper cup industry.

"By singling out disposable cups the committee is, by its own admission, looking for United Kingdom coffee retailers and their cup providers to underwrite the waste management of all packaging used on the go", he said.

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