Study finds that a 25p latte levy could cost the economy £819m


New research from Ecuity has claimed that a 25p levy on recyclable paper cups could cost the economy £819m and 11,000 jobs in the coffee retail sector. 

This study is on behalf of the Paper Cup Alliance (PCA) and has found that the cost associated with a tax on recyclable paper cups may outweigh the benefits. 


Ecuity also analysed existing research and believes that this 25p tax could result in just 5.7% of consumers opting for re-usable plastic cups or crockery, with 8% of consumers choosing not to make a purchase at all. 

The PCA is urging the Government to consider the economic and social impact of a crackdown on paper cups, and to spread the message that this item is 100% recyclable.  

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From this, the PCA has launched an industry action plan: 

  • Boost the quantity of cups recycled to 85% by 2030 
  • Increase the number of bins in public places from high streets to stadiums, transport hubs and music festivals 
  • Consistent standardised approach across waste management companies and local authorities on separating recyclable materials and taking them to recycling plants 
  • Clear information for the customer on how and where paper cups are recycled 
  • A campaign to raise awareness that paper cups are 100% recyclable.  

PCA spokesperson Mike Turner said: “This research should come as a sharp wake-up call to policy makers and politicians calling for a latte levy. 

“More can and should be done to increase paper cup recycling rates, but this needs to be balanced against the devastating impact that a 25 pence tax could have for thousands of people working in the British cup manufacturing industry, the towns they are based in, and the wider supply chain. 

He added: “Further investment in infrastructure is the only way we can meet our important environmental obligations without dealing a blow to the UK manufacturing sector and our already struggling high streets.” 


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