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Starbucks to trial paper cup charge in central London stores

Starbucks to trial paper cup charge in central London stores

A spokesman for Starbucks said of 5p charge trial: "We recognise there is growing concern about the number of single-use paper cups being used".

Since 2015, English consumers have been charged five pence for single use plastic bags at large shops. To give them an incentive, lawmakers also want their tax to give way to harsher measures - if England's coffee cups aren't 100 percent recyclable by 2023, they propose switching to an outright ban.

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.

While some coffee shops did offer discounts to customers who brought their own cups, the committee said that uptake of such offers was between just 1 and 2 percent of coffee purchases.

Disposable coffee cups are a nightmare for the environment: Most end up in landfill sites, and putting them in the paper recycling bin makes matters worse because they can't be easily processed. The polythene lining residue is then moved on to another supplier and recycled into products such as plastic tubing and cable wraps.

The Liberal Democrats said they had been campaigning for a charge on coffee cups since September 2016 and were the only party to include the policy in their 2017 election manifesto. According to the report, just 0.25 per cent of cups are recycled, and 500,000 are littered every day.

If all disposable coffee cups are recycled by 2023, that will require a lot of infrastructure - there are only three recycling facilities in the United Kingdom that can split the paper from the plastic for recycling at present (which is why less than 1% of cups are recycled).

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Labour MP Mary Creagh, chair of the committee said, "Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and the government has sat on its hands".

Only three companies in the United Kingdom recycle coffee cups.

PCCRG is a voluntary body focused on increasing the recovery and recycling of paper cups.

Edwin Harrison, owner of the independent Artisan coffee shop in West London, fears many of his customers would stay away if a charge was brought in.

The last decade has brought about an explosion in the United Kingdom café culture, as the traditional English cup of tea has succumbed to its roasted rival, with the milky latte taking top spot as the nation's most popular takeaway hot drink, served in paper cups laminated with a plastic sheeting, which waterproof the containers and stop hot drinks leaking onto customer's hands.

"With all the will in the world we can't make that change and we wish we could", he said.

A spokesperson for the UK Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the committee's recommendations would be carefully considered.


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