The UK government has rejected the possibility coffee shop cups could be taxed to prevent millions of them being thrown away. Environment minister Rory Stewart had told MPs there was a “huge” problem with unrecyclable, plastic-lined paper cups.
But the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told PRW: “While the minister acknowledged more needs to be done to recycle coffee cups there are no plans to tax them.”
According to some estimates, fewer than 1% of the 2.5 billion paper and plastic cups used in the UK each year are recycled, leading to criticism of high street cafes for stamping them with recycling logos.
Answering a Commons question from Labour MP Rob Marris, Stewart said: “The government has tackled plastic bags – I hope everybody in the House would agree that the plastic bag tax has been a success – and coffee cups seem to be a very good thing to look at next.”
Disposable coffee cups can be difficult to recycle because most are made with a combination of paper and plastic.
Television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has said he is “delighted” the problem of unrecycled coffee cups has attracted government attention. Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose #wastenot campaign has gathered more than 300,000 supporters, said Stewart’s intervention should “help focus the coffee companies’ minds on finding a solution”