Ecuity conducted an economic study on behalf of the Paper Cup Alliance and found that a 25p ‘latte levy’ could result in the loss of 11,000 jobs, as well as wiping £819 million from the economy. Only 5.7% of consumers would switch to reusable plastic cups or crockery, while 8% would not make a purchase at all.
MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee backed up the levy on disposable coffee cups; however, the government rejected the need for such a charge and said that it would prefer retailers to offer discounts to consumers who bring their own cups to outlets.
“This research should come as a sharp wake up call to policy makers and politicians calling for a latte levy. More can and should be done to increase paper cup recycling rates, but this needs to be balanced against the devastating impact that a 25p tax could have for thousands of people working in the British cup manufacturing industry, the towns they are based in, and the wider supply chain,” said Mike Turner, spokesperson for the Paper Cup Alliance.
This year, there have been 426 extra cup recycling bins installed across the UK, which can be found in 92% of local authorities. However, a wholesale commitment is needed in order to get more paper cups to the recycling plants. “Further investment in infrastructure is the only way we can meet our important environmental obligations without dealing a blow to the UK manufacturing sector and our already struggling high streets,” added Mike Turner.
“The UK coffee industry is committed to supporting all circular economy principles, including those around packaging and waste. We support the scaling up of all recycling processes and infrastructure in the UK as the only sustainable way of creating a circular economy around paper cups, so that they are captured and recycled,” concluded Chris Stemman, executive director of the British Coffee Association.