SUEZ chief executive David Palmer-Jones has said that a tax on coffee cups may provide a “helpful nudge” for consumers to stop throwing the cups away.
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has called for the Government to introduce a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups, in hope of improving recycling rates.
However, the Suez boss added that for a long-lasting change, the suggestions from EAC “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.”
He added that for this levy to start a reform, there needs to be increased investment in sustainable designs, better use of recyclable materials and a “better capture of materials at the end of their life, in order to help eradicate the bitter taste litter leaves behind in our streets, hedgerows, rivers and oceans.”
Veolia, who says that it already has a solution to collect, recycle and re-use coffee cups have also commented on EAC’s report.
Its senior executive vice-president Estelle Brachlianoff explained that over the past eight months, the company has partnered with Costa, Starbucks, and McDonald’s and recycled more than 10 million cups nationwide.
She said that the company’s solution includes “in-house recycling bins, bulk collection and a post back service. This helps support better coffee cup disposal and reduces contamination, which is the biggest challenge in the recycling process.”
Commenting on the proposed levy, she added: “We believe it should be used to fund the collection of cups, since once they are separately collected they have a value and can be made into new products. Equally, the levy should be discounted when coffee shops do actually recycle – otherwise it presents no incentive and instead amounts to a general taxation.”