Govt Rejects Calls For 25p Levy On Takeaway Cups
As all coffee manufacturers will surely already know, there is growing consternation about the use of single-use cups in the industry and the pressure they’re putting on the environment. And it’s no surprise, given figures showing that 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away each and every year!
Earlier this year, members of a Commons committee recommended that the government brings in a 25p charge on these disposable coffee cups to help address the waste situation – but now, unfortunately, it has emerged that these calls have been rejected by Whitehall.
According to the Guardian, chair of the environmental audit committee Mary Creagh has now accused ministers of simply paying lip service to the idea of tackling the amount of waste created by these cups.
The Labour MP was quoted by the news source as saying: “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.”
Despite the fact that Theresa May recently declared war on single-use plastic, which included taxing takeaway containers, environment secretary Michael Gove has now once again failed to bring in a plastic bottle deposit scheme.
And a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on this scheme is yet to be published, while a consultation by chancellor Philip Hammond into taxes and charges on both plastic bottles and takeaway packaging hasn’t been launched yet either.
It was judged that the most effective way to drive a change in consumer behaviour was the 25p levy on cups, which could then be used to fund recycling processes. It was also recommended by the committee that cup labels should say where they can be recycled, but ministers have also decided to leave this up to producers of the cups.
Interestingly, Chris Stemman of the British Coffee Association believes that the capacity for manufacturing and disposing more eco-friendly coffee cups isn’t available in the UK at the moment. The majority of biodegradable cups still find themselves in landfill – so Mr Stemman thinks that the push should be for people to invest in reusable cups, which coffee shops could help to promote.
Once this is prioritised, the push could then be made to invest more in recycling facilities here in the UK that can handle coffee cups that do have plastic linings.
But is this likely if the 25p levy isn’t rolled out? Where will the money come from to help fund the creation and operation of these facilities?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues here at Lincoln & York – what do you think could be done and how would you as an industry player tackle this serious problem? Get in touch with us today to let us know what you’d do and how you’d go about it.