With the growing demand for coffee the government have commented that “the Government should act urgently to tackle avoidable coffee cup waste”. Recent trend has also shown that the UK has a high ‘on-the-go’ consumption rate which will show high use of disposable cups and waste.
The House of Commons Environmental Audit committee have already looked into this topic and recommended that the consumer pay a 25p levy on disposable cups…. dubbed the Latte Levy.
Many coffee establishments have introduced discounts for reusable cups although statistics from Costa and Starbucks show just a 1-2% of sales take this discount.
Personally I am not sure I am a fan of the consumer paying the levy, are we not being sold a product that is not fit for purpose when you look at its full lifecycle? My local speciality coffee house uses the Vegware cups and lids which are compostable – I assume they absorb this cost as their coffee prices are comparable to that of local competition like Costa, Starbucks and other independents. You have to admire the decision to keep quality, standards and principles high and still be competitive.
The preferable answer is to prevent the waste in the first place even recycling has an environmental impact and evidence has shown that charges work better than incentive; look how the plastic bag charge returned an 83% reduction in use, but will we all we walking around with our own reusable cups? I don’t think so.