UK Government rejects disposable cups charge

cups-jpgUK ministers have rejected calls for a charge on the estimated 2.5bn disposable coffee cups thrown away each year, believing the industry is already taking enough action to cut down waste.

Therese Coffey told the Liberal Democrats, who have urged the government to impose a 5p charge similar to that levied on plastic bags, that industry and chains were already doing enough voluntarily.

“Many major chains are taking their own action to incentivise environmentally friendly behaviour, for example, offering a discount on drinks if customers bring their own cup,” the environment minister wrote in a letter to Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder.

Chris Stemman, executive director of the British Coffee Association, commented: “We recognise the success of the 5p plastic bag charge in relation to the challenge associated with managing plastic bags. However, the use of paper cups and plastic bags are inherently different and simply introducing a 5p tax on cups will not necessarily address the behaviour change required to reduce waste and littering or provide the infrastructure required to sustainably recover and enable the recycling of paper cups.”