This comes after the success of the plastic bag 5p tax which saw an 85% reduction in the amount of single-use plastic bags handed out, taking 6 billion plastic bags out of circulation in just the first year of the tax being in force.
Two of the UK's most prominent waste management companies and the Paper Cup Alliance have responded to the call from the Environmental Audit Committee today for a 25p "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups.
Café chain Pret A Manger recently announced it will reduce 50p from the price of a hot drink when the customer buying it is using their own reusable coffee cup.
Starbucks is the only coffee chain charging customers for disposable cups at and that, for now, is for a trial period.
Unsurprisingly, the prospect of a complete ban on coffee cups was met with firm opposition by makers of paper cups, who have argued their products remained the most sustainable and environment friendly solution for takeaway drinks. "It is recognised that there must be investment to improve the nation's limited "on the go" recycling collection infrastructure and to support the technology and capacity investments that are needed to ensure that materials collected are efficiently recycled with quality at the heart of the process".
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Last year researchers at Cardiff University concluded that charging 25p for every coffee cup would help cut the number used by up to 300 million a year.
"The cups we sell now are as environmentally friendly as they can be but whether they get recycled I couldn't tell you".
Funds from the so-called "latte levy" would be used to improve recycling facilities nationwide, Parliament's cross-party Environmental Audit Committee said on Friday in an emailed report.
Coffee shop owners are under mounting pressure to do more to stop that from happening.
Coffee chains have been "pulling the wool over the eyes" of customers by letting them believe paper cups can be recycled, MPs warned.
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The last decade has brought about an explosion in the United Kingdom café culture, as the traditional English cup of tea has succumbed to its roasted rival, with the milky latte taking top spot as the nation's most popular takeaway hot drink, served in paper cups laminated with a plastic sheeting, which waterproof the containers and stop hot drinks leaking onto customer's hands.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the committee's recommendations would be carefully considered.
The lawmakers say a stick is more effective than a carrot in changing consumer behavior. "We're calling for action to reduce the number of single use cups, promote reusable cups over disposable cups and to recycle all coffee cups by 2023".
"The trial will investigate the impact of a 5p charge on a paper cup, coupled with the prominent marketing of reusable cups, on customer behaviour". This adds to the financial burden on taxpayers, who already cover 90% of the cost of collecting, sorting and disposing of waste coffee cups.
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