MPs to investigate impact of coffee cups

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the environmental impact of disposable drinks packaging. The cross-party committee said it will be focussing on plastic bottles and coffee cups.

The MPs will analyse the actions taken by industry and government to date as well as investigate possible new solutions. They will for example consider whether taxes on disposable cups and deposit return schemes for plastic bottles could be effective tools to reduce waste.

"Our throwaway society has given us a tide of litter on our beaches, dead seabirds and fish, and plastic in our food,” said the committee’s chair Mary Creagh. “Our inquiry will be taking a serious look at solutions like the use of different materials, behaviour change, better recycling and bottle deposit return schemes."

The recyclability of coffee cups was thrust into the spotlight last year thanks to a campaign run by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The celebrity chef exposed how the claims made by the high street chains were greenwash.

Meanwhile, litter campaigners have been calling for deposit return schemes for plastic bottles for some time. To date, industry has argued that they are costly to run and ineffective. However, last month Coca-Cola came out in support of the concept following a Greenpeace investigation.

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