Starbucks trials 5p charge on disposable cups

Tyler Owen
January 7, 2018

The UK Parliament's environmental audit committee, which looks at how various government departments and public bodies contribute to the environment, also recommended banning disposable coffee cups if they are not all recyclable by 2023.

It's not just MPs making plans to tackle the issue of coffee cup waste.

Further sicking up then "one the go" theme, CIWM CEO Dr Colin Church added:"This EAC report provides a useful summary of the challenges we face in developing a more sustainable approach to both disposable coffee cups and, by extension, single-use "on the go" food contact packaging as a whole". Or should they even be banned altogether?

The levy idea isn't welcomed by everyone and is being opposed by paper cup makers, especially as MPs are also suggesting that non-recyable disposable cups be outlawed by 2023. Café chain Pret A Manger recently announced it will reduce 50p from the price of a hot drink when the customer buying it is using their own reusable coffee cup.

In a statement, Starbucks said: "We will investigate the impact of a 5p charge on a paper cup, coupled with prominent marketing of reusable cups, on customer behaviour".

The chain will partner with charity Hubbub to launch the London-based trial, and money generated from the charge will be used for studies into behaviour change and attitudes towards the uptake of reusable cups.

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Some 30,000 tonnes of waste is produced from coffee cups in the United Kingdom every year.

One system created to tackle the problem already exists. It is in effect, an end-to-end service designed system, in that the Simply Cups works directly with companies which dispose of cups, by collecting them and getting them to one of two recycling plants in the country where they can be recycled.

"The public needs a simple, United Kingdom wide solution, one which is made possible by the introduction of an on-the-go waste management infrastructure".

"Consumers don't think about the fact that we have to get rid of the packaging".

"They are the ones who are expert in manufacturing". The key to increased recycling therefore is increased collection and this requires an on-the-go waste management infrastructure that addresses all packaging used in this way and not just cups.

In October a year ago, organisations from across the paper cup supply chain signed an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to accelerate UK recycling of PE lined paper cups (see story).

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