A committee of British MPs has floated the idea of placing a levy of 25 pence (about $0.43) on every coffee purchased in a disposable cup in an effort to curb waste.
Britons throw away about 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups per year, hardly any of which are recyclable, according to the UK Parliament’s environmental audit committee.
The committee has proposed that as well as acting as a deterrent, the proceeds will be used to invest in recycling processes.
The committee is also suggesting that the UK government set a target of making all takeaway cups recyclable by 2023, with a provision that takeaway cups be banned altogether if that target is not met.
“Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands,” committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said.
MPs want disposable cups from cafes that do not recycle the items in store to be labelled with “not widely recycled” for consumers to see.
The committee said a disincentive would be more effective than an incentive, highlighting the success of the 5-pence single-use plastic bag charge.
“We’ve seen with the plastic bag charge an 83 per cent reduction in plastic bag use,” Mary said.
“We think the ‘latte levy’ will be the sort of charge that will really make people think, ‘Hang on a minute, I need to bring my cup to work today’, in the same way that they’re now moving more and more to reusable plastic bottles.”
A spokesperson for the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told ABC News the committee’s recommendations would be carefully considered.