The UK government has rejected a proposal to introduce a 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups with the aim of reducing waste.
The measure was proposed at the start of January by the environmental audit committee, which recommended that a 25p levy be placed on disposable cups, with collected funds being used to improve recycling facilities across the country.
However, the Government suggested last week that it was preferable for shops to offer discounts to customers bringing their own cups, rather than introduce a tax on all cups.
Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental audit committee, said this response shows that "despite warm words [the Government] plans no real action."
"Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis," Creagh said.
"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. By choosing to favour voluntary discounts for reusable cups, the Government is ignoring the evidence about what works."
The debate over disposable cups comes after the launch of the Government's 25-year environment plan at the start of the year.
In January, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to eliminate all “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042, and proposed introducing a levy on takeaway containers, and creating plastic-free aisles in supermarkets.
An estimated 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK, and less than one in 400 are recycled, according to the environmental audit committee.
Most disposable cups are not easy to recycle, due to the plastic lining inside the cup, as well as food-waste contamination.
Last month, coffee giant Starbucks introduced its own levy, and began charging 5p for disposable cups in 35 London stores, as part of a three-month trial. The chain also sells reusable cups at all of its stores for £1.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.