British Gov rejects ‘latte levy’

McDonald’s & Starbucks to develop recyclable cup
Credit: Africa Studio

Despite the growing mountain of disposable coffee cups blighting Britain, the Government has rejected plans for a proposed ‘latte levy’ in a move many have described as toothless and cowardly.

The levy, announced back in January, called for a 25p tax on disposable coffee cups to curb usage and fund recycling efforts.

The Government has refused the levy, opting instead for voluntary commitments. This despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s so-called “war” on waste.

The Government response suggests that coffee shops should offer discounts for customers with reusable cups, instead of a levy on disposable cups.

In an inquiry, the Environmental Audit Committee heard that a charge – such as that introduced on plastic bags – was the most effective way to change consumer behaviour.

During the inquiry the Environment Minister Dr Therese Coffey MP told the Committee that DEFRA’s Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group would examine coffee cups for their next project, but the Government response to the report makes no mention of this.

“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,” said Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Mary Creagh MP.

“By choosing to favour voluntary discounts for reusable cups, the Government is ignoring the evidence about what works.

“DEFRA’s Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group should open their consultation on coffee cups as soon as possible.

“The Government should look to repeat the success of the 5p bag charge by introducing a latte levy.”