Climate Action

‘Latte levy’ back on the menu to restrict plastic waste

The UK Government could soon implement a coffee cup levy to combat the use of throwaway plastic.

  • 21 August 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

The UK Government could soon implement a coffee cup levy to combat the use of throwaway plastic.

The ‘latte levy’, totalling 25p, would work in a similar way to the 5p plastic bag charge, and implemented across the UK.

A record 162,000 people responded to a recent Government consultation on the issue, highlighting the strength of feeling on tackling plastic waste.

Robert Jenrick, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “Tackling the scandal of plastic pollution is one of our top priorities and we know the public is right behind us. I’ve been overwhelmed by the public support and the responses we’ve received will be invaluable as we develop our plans for using the tax system to combat this.”

Presently, the amount of plastic waste in the UK annually amounts to nearly 5 million tonnes. It has been reported by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) that around 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away each year. This has resulted in over 6 million tonnes of plastic being dumped in the oceans already this year. The EAC first recommended the 25p charge in a report earlier this year. However, the government was initially reluctant to implement one, preferring the option of allowing coffee chains to offer discounts on reusable cups.

Louise Edge, a senior plastic pollution campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “The so-called latte-levy on disposable cups seems inevitable now, but that should be just the tip of the iceberg.”

The UK government has previously banned microbeads from cosmetics and is exploring increasing the 5p plastic bag charge. They are also reviewing banning plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds as public support grows for the tackling plastic pollution.

Companies such as Starbucks and Pret A Manger have previously responded to the demand for sustainability by introducing incentives to use reusable cups.