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Liberal Democrats seek recycling boost with coffee cup tax

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 18:30:29

With the snap UK general election just around the corner, all major parties are pouring out fresh policies to woo voters over to their cause. Now the Liberal Democrats have swung the focus onto green issues with a proposition to enforce a 5p charge on all disposable coffee cups so that people are more inclined to recycle these receptacles, according to the Sun.

An estimated 2.5 billion cups are tossed in the bin annually across the country, representing a recycling rate of just 0.25 per cent. The Liberal Democrats hope to change this with a tax that mirrors that which was applied to plastic carrier bags in an effort to alter habits and raise awareness about the environmental impact of current takeaway trends.

The plastic bag tax helped to cut the use of these containers by 85 per cent, so it is argued that a similar improvement would be achieved if disposable coffee cups were similarly hit.

Most of the coffee cups which are distributed by major outlets and subsequently discarded by consumers across the UK are made from paper, meaning that they can be recycled with relative ease. But in the case of the Lib Dem’s policy, the aim is not just to boost recycling but to effectively encourage shops and coffee fans to switch back to using porcelain.

This is suitable for those who intend to stay put while enjoying their hot drink. But for anyone who wants to grab a latte and hit the road immediately afterwards, using a paper cup will still be necessary.

The tax would likely be used to help fund recycling efforts and make collection facilities available at all cafes, not just in a small number. It could also incentivise firms to pursue alternatives to current disposable cup technology.




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