Friends of the Earth has marked the one year anniversary of the 5p plastic bag charge coming into force by calling for new government action on non-recyclable coffee cups.
It said the success of the plastic bag charge showed a huge appetite among the public and forward-thinking businesses to radically reduce waste and called on the government to push for coffee shops and other fast food chains to offer a discount to people who bring their own cup.
Friends of the Earth said an estimated 2.5bn non-recyclable coffee cups end up in landfill every year, although recent estimates suggest the figure could be as high as 5bn. Only a small fraction of the cups – about one in 400 – are currently being recycled.
“The massive reduction in plastic bag use shows that just a small change in everyday habits can make a meaningful difference,” said Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns. “Plastic waste is very good at finding its way into our waterways and countryside, so it’s been a boon for nature and wildlife too.”
The charity has also called for the 5p plastic bag charge to be extended to convenience stores, which are currently exempt from the scheme.