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Lawmakers propose 'latte levy' to cut coffee cup waste

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Britain should introduce a charge of 25 pence (0.45 Singapore cent) for disposable coffee cups to encourage recycling and reduce waste from retailers including Starbucks and Costa Coffee, a panel of lawmakers said.

[LONDON] Britain should introduce a charge of 25 pence (0.45 Singapore cent) for disposable coffee cups to encourage recycling and reduce waste from retailers including Starbucks and Costa Coffee, a panel of lawmakers said.

Funds from the so-called latte levy would be used to improve recycling facilities nationwide, Parliament's cross-party Environmental Audit Committee said on Friday in an emailed report. The government should also set a target to recycle all disposable coffee cups by 2023, and ban the cups if it fails to meet the goal, the panel said.

The UK uses 30,000 tons of coffee cup waste each year. Fewer than one in 400 cups is recycled, largely because their plastic linings make recycling trickier. With coffee shops now a fixture in British society, the committee said that consumers are more responsive to extra charges than to discounts for bringing in their own reusable cups.

"The UK's coffee shop market is expanding rapidly, so we need to kick-start a revolution in recycling,"  committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said in a statement. "The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year; enough to circle the planet five and a half times. Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered."

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The committee said it was "disappointed" that only Costa and Starbucks provided written evidence for its investigation, and not other major retailers, including Rome Pikco's Caffe Nero and the supermarket chains Tesco, Wm Morrison Supermarkets and Pret a Manger.

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