MP’s re-launch inquiry into coffee cups and plastic bottles 


The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is reintroducing its previous committee’s examination into coffee cups and plastic bottles.  

Over 100 submissions of evidence were collected in the previous committee’s inquiry prior to the recent General Election.  


Figures for coffee cups show that 2.5 billion of these cups are thrown away each year, with 1 in 400 being recycled. 

To make coffee cups waterproof, the card is combined with polyethylene, a material that cannot be removed again from UK recycling mills. This layer make both composting and recycling of paper cups uncommon. 

Only two sites in the UK have the capacity to separate the plastic from the paper, allowing recovery and recycling into new paper products. 

Along with coffee cups, the EAC will investigate a deposit scheme for plastic bottles. Currently, 57% of plastic bottles are recycled.  

The Scottish Government has commissioned an analysis into a deposit return scheme (DRS) and the First Minister confirmed that Scotland plans a DRS for drinks bottles and containers.  

While the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said that a DRS is a “great idea”, he believes that it is fundamental to ensure it would work before agreeing to its appliance.  

Germany, Sweden and Norway have already implemented a DRS. The German deposit scheme costs around three times as much per container as household-based collected systems, but Germany recycles over 90% of its PET bottles in 2015. 

Deadlines for submissions to the EAC is Friday 29 September at 5pm.