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UK Lawmakers Seek Levy On Disposable Coffee Cups

A committee of British parliament today canvassed the imposition of a 25-pence ($0.34) levy on disposable coffee cups to cut down waste and use the money to improve recycling facilities.

Among the major coffee companies in the country are, Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, Chains Pret A Manger, Greggs and Starbucks, all of which have contributed to expanding the coffee sales in the last 10 years to meet increasing demand.

A news report by Voanews quoted the parliament’s environmental audit committee as saying that while some outlets give a discount to customers using their own cup, only 1-2 percent of buyers take up the offer.

To reduce the risks constituted by disposable coffee cups on the environment, the committee suggested that  a “latte levy” was needed instead.

Commenting on the menace of the cups to the environment, the chair of the committee, Mary Creagh, said: “The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year; enough to circle the planet 5½ times.

“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,” she said.

The committee said that if the recycling target was not met, then disposable coffee cups should be banned.

It would be recalled that in October 2015, Britain introduced a charge of 5-pence on all single-use plastic bags provided by large shops, which led to an 83 percent reduction in UK plastic bags used in the first year.

The environment ministry said today that the government was working closely with the sector and had made progress in increasing recycling rates.

A spokeswoman of the ministry was reported to have said that  the ministry was “encouraged by industry action to increase the recycling of paper cups with some major retail chains now offering discounts to customers with reusable cups. We will carefully consider the committee’s recommendations and respond shortly.”


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