The Government should introduce a 25p latte levy on disposable coffee cups
This is necessary to tackle Britain's mountain of coffee cup waste.
Only 1 in 400 disposable coffee cups are recycled in the UK.
We've been looking at what action the Government should take to cut down disposable coffee cup waste.
We heard from environmental researchers, academics, NGOs, coffee trade representatives, packaging producers, local authorities and Government Ministers and officials.
2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK
That's enough to stretch around the world five and a half times
Coffee cups are recyclable, but almost none are.
This is because of their tightly bonded plastic lining, which is difficult to remove, and the challenges of recycling packaging that's contaminated by food.
As a result, less than 1% of disposable coffee cups are recycled in the UK.
Around 500,000 cups are littered every day – an unsightly and damaging blight on our environment
Some coffee shop chains in the UK have made voluntary commitments to recycle more disposable cups by setting up in-store recycling systems.
To recycle your disposable coffee cup, check:
- Does your local cafe have an in-store recycling bin?
- Does your council accept them in household recycling?
Taxpayers currently pay 90% of the cost of packaging waste disposal.
Coffee cups make recycling more expensive for local authorities because they contaminate on-street recycling bins.
Using fewer disposable coffee cups would reduce sorting costs for local authorities.
A culture of using a reusable cup wherever possible should be encouraged to reduce coffee cup waste
This is important because reducing waste is always better than recycling.
Take your own cup with you wherever you can.
The charge on plastic bags prompted consumers to change their habits, reducing plastic bag use by over 83% in the first year.
We recommend that the Government introduces a 25p levy on disposable cups
The money raised should be used to create more recycling facilities and binfrastructure for the coffee cups
The coffee shop industry needs a clear recycling target to push them to plan and invest in greater recycling infrastructure and management.
There is no excuse for the reluctance from Government and industry to address coffee cup waste.
Disposable coffee cups are an avoidable form of waste and if their future sustainability cannot be proved, they should be banned.
We recommend that the Government sets a target that all disposable coffee cups should be recycled by 2023
If this target is not achieved, the Government should ban disposable coffee cups
We delivered these recommendations to the Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Friday 5th January 2018. They have two months to respond.
You can read all of the evidence we received on how to reduce coffee cup waste and improve recycling on our website.