UK Government makes no decision on “latte levy” for disposable coffee cups.
In a response to MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee, who suggested a charge of 25p on takeaway coffee cups, Michael Gove’s department said this incentive was still an option but stopped short of promising to implement it.
“Clearly, the 5p single-use plastic bag charge has had a big impact and far fewer are being sold,” the statement said. “So these types of incentives can change consumer behaviour and this is something we could consider amongst other policy options.”
But the government also indicated that it wanted to see more businesses leading the way on the issue. The likes of Pret a Manger, Starbucks, and Costa have all introduced initiatives to reduce disposable cup usage.
The government said: “We are pleased that major coffee retail chains are taking action to reduce single-use coffee cups by offering discounts to customers with reusable cups and are putting in place the infrastructure to ensure cups can be collected for recycling. The Government would like to see this service offered by all businesses selling disposable coffee cups.”
But the response was criticised by the committee which put the proposals forward.
Mary Creagh, chair of the committee, 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.”
Other proposals included adding labels to coffee cups to indicate where they can be recycled and banning them altogether by 2023.
“The UK’s throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas. Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis. The Government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action.”