No plans for cup tax, says Government

The Government has said it has no plans to introduce a 5p charge on disposable paper cups despite ongoing pressure from campaigners.

Environment Minister, Dr Therese Coffey, suggested the Government would instead support voluntary measures by industry to increase recycling rates, in response to a letter from Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, in which Bearder called for a new levy to be imposed.

Coffey noted that major coffee chop chains were already incentivising customers to recycle their cups, including offering a discount on drinks if customers bring their own cup.

She also pointed to a pledge signed by 45 companies, including Café Nero, Costa and Pret A Manger, to increase recycling rates significantly by 2020, as part of the industry-run Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group.

A number of environmental groups, academics and politicians have called for a levy to be imposed on disposable paper cups for which recycling rates have been shown to be as low as one in 400.

Proponents claim a levy could replicate the success of a 5p tax on plastic bags, which has been credited with cutting usage by up to 80%.

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