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While the environmental impact of charging extra for disposable cups would seem to be clear, based on the drop in use of plastic bags, retailers may not be so happy.

A report published by the cross-party group says there is "no excuse for the reluctance we have seen from government and industry to address coffee cup waste". "Their silence speaks volumes", MPs said.

"The revenue should be used to invest in reprocessing facilities and "binfrastructure" to ensure that the remaining disposable cups are recycled".

As MPs put pressure on Government for "Latte levy", service design opportunities could be brewing but only if a new circular economy coffee cup system can be conceived.

Some 2.5 billion coffee cups go into England's trash every year, enough to encircle Earth half a dozen times. Half a million coffee cups are littered each day in the United Kingdom, the report said.

The environmental audit committee's report said: "Coffee shops with recycling schemes should place a "recyclable in stores only" label on cups".

A typical coffee cup is made from cardboard with a thin plastic lining.

Coffee shop owners are under mounting pressure to do more to stop that from happening.

As well as the headline grabbing "latte levy", the EAC has recommended a target of every cup being recycled by 2023, as well as an overhaul of the UK's producer responsibility system, which now sees producers paying only 10 per cent of the cost for local authorities to collect and process packaging.

"Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands", said committee chairwoman Mary Creagh, who called for a "revolution in recycling".

In response, Starbucks said it already offers a 25 pence discount to drinkers who use a recyclable cup - now just 1.8% of its customers in the United Kingdom. Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops.

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Starbucks now offers customers a 25p discount on drink orders if they bring their own reusable cup.

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the production and shipment of 2.5 billion cups - the number discarded in the United Kingdom every year - is equivalent to that produced by burning around 120 million litres of petrol. The three-month trial will begin in February.

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. Yet only 1-2% of customers take advantage of the offer.

A 5p charge on coffee cups was first proposed by the Liberal Democrats after it emerged past year that only one in 400 was being recycled.

The lawmakers say a stick is more effective than a carrot in changing consumer behavior.

"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".

You may not know it, but taxpayers (you and me) pay for 90% of the cost incurred disposing of coffee cups.

The figure is much less than the 25p suggested by MPs as the sort of levy that would drive people to stop using the cups.

They said the disposable cups that majority used actually had a "shockingly low recycling rate" - less than 1 per cent.

The Government has shown itself to be receptive to calls to tackle problem packaging, setting the tone with a charge for plastic bags, and promising further legislation to protect the environment and animal rights.


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