Introduce 50p charge on all take away cups

Introduce 50p charge on all take away cups

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Plastic-Free Hackney started this petition to Starbucks and

Since the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic bags in 2015, the UK has reduced our bag consumption by an amazing 80-90%. 

Disposable coffee cups look like paper cups, so surely they can be recycled. Nope. These paper cups are polyethylene-lined - to ensure that they don’t leak. If you look closely you can see they are slightly shiny on the inside. Materials that have been combined in the manufacturing process, i.e a paper cup with plastic lining, are both tricky and labour intensive to separate.

There are currently only 3 facilities in the UK that can process them. The consequence is that of the 7 million coffee cups used in the UK every day, only 1% will be recycled. Half a million cups are littered on the streets of the UK every day. Set this against the current government incentive where packaging producers only pay for 10 per cent of the cost of packaging disposal and recycling. The remaining 90% of the bill is footed by taxpayers. And we haven’t even touched on the lids. 

What was dubbed the ‘latte levy’ came close to becoming law in 2018, placing a 25p tax on all disposable cups. But Phillip Hammond MP dropped the proposal in his October 2018 budget, citing that a specific charge would not be effective in changing consumer behaviour. 

Consumers are currently ‘rewarded’ by some chains with a discount for bringing their own reusable cup. But this is surely the wrong way around. If we want to address the huge issue of waste in the UK, these schemes should not be opt-in, rather the producers of the waste must show responsibility by paying for them through taxation. 

We urgently need to move away from a cycle of consumption where we use something once and then throw it away, even if it is being recycled. We need to pressurise the government to stop this cycle of waste by implementing taxes on the companies who give us this waste. 

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