Following the Environmental Audit Committee’s report Disposable Packaging: Coffee Cups, the Government has refused to take any decisive action on coffee cups, including the introduction of a ‘latte levy’.
Instead, it has chosen to rely on voluntary commitments.
The Committee’s key suggestion was the introduction of a 25p levy on the use of disposable coffee cups, in order to reduce use and help finance recycling measures.
Within the Government’s response, it suggests that coffee shops should offer discounts for consumers who bring in reusable cups, instead of a charge on disposable cups.
The Committee’s inquiry heard that a charge, similar to the 5p plastic bag charge, was the most effective way to change customer behaviour.
Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh said: “Evidence to our inquiry demonstrated that charges work better than discounts for reducing the use of non-recyclable materials – as was the case with the plastic bag charge. By choosing to favour voluntary discounts for reusable cups, the Government is ignoring the evidence about what works.”
Another recommendation from the Committee was that coffee cup labelling should state where it can be recycled, but the Government responded by focusing on voluntary anti-littering labelling.
Mary Creagh MP added: “The Government’s anti-littering labelling proposal completely misses the point. Consumers deserve to know if their coffee cup will be recycled or not. The Government’s response to my Committee’s recommendation not only lacks ambition and puts coffee in the ‘too difficult’ Ministerial in-tray.”
A ban on disposable coffee cups was also suggested, but the Government rejected this and instead welcomed the Paper Cup Manifesto, which indicated a target for the provision of recycling facilities for coffee cups, but not does not include a recycling target for this item specifically.