Reusable Coffee Cup Sales ‘On The Rise’

 In Coffee News

MPs have issued a call to government to introduce a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups in a bid to tackle waste, with members of a Commons committee criticising big-name brands for not acting on this growing situation.

According to the Independent, a report from the committee stresses that if all cups aren’t recycled in five years’ time, an outright ban on them should be rolled out. Each year, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are binned.

Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, asserted that if a 25p latte levy is added to the price of a drink, this extra cash would help to change people’s behaviour and also improve reprocessing facilities in the UK.

Some coffee shops are already offering customers a discount if they bring a reusable cup in with them for their morning java. Pret A Manger, for example, has just announced that it would be doubling its discount to 50p to encourage customers to reduce the amount they throw away.

Ms Creagh said: “Coffee shops have been pulling the wool over customers’ eyes, telling us their cups can be recycling, when less than one per cent are. The government should set a target of all disposable coffee cups to be recycled by 2023. If a sustainable recycling system for disposable coffee cups cannot be set by this date, they should be banned.”

Just today (January 10th), the Independent also revealed that sales of reusable coffee cups at Argos climbed five-fold in December, selling 537 per cent more cups than in the same month in 2016.

Manager in the kitchen-buying department at the retailer Dawn Ritchie put this down in part to the success of environmental shows like Blue Planet II, but also because some of the biggest coffee chains in the UK have started offering discounts for those who do use reusable cups.

However, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents cafes, restaurants and managed pubs in the UK, did issue a warning that the introduction of this latte levy will see cost hikes for employers and potentially undermine any investments without a guarantee in place that the waste issue will be successfully addressed.

Chief executive of the organisation Kate Nicholls welcomed efforts to reduce this waste and tackle environmental damage, but the big concern is that the levy will increase costs for companies, with small to medium-sized businesses especially vulnerable.

Many companies will find it hard to absorb the 25p cost or pass it onto customers, since the cost of the cup will already be factored into the price.

“Efforts by businesses to tackle the issue are recognised in the report and some of the ALMR’s members have begun loyalty schemes or provided discounts for customers using their own reusable cups. Steps such as these help address waste without increasing costs for businesses and actually save customers money,” Ms Nicholls said.

She went on to add that improving recycling facilities instead of deterring purchases could prove more effective than introducing a levy.

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