Latte levy not the answer
Small and medium-sized businesses will be particularly vulnerable to cost increases and many of them will find it difficult to absorb this cost or even pass it onto customers as the cost of the cup is already factored into the price.
Efforts by businesses to tackle the issue are recognised in the report and some of the ALMR’s members have begun loyalty schemes or provided discounts for customers using their own reusable cups. Steps such as these help address waste without increasing costs for businesses and actually save customers money. The sector is taking the issue seriously and the Paper Cup Recovery & Recycling Group’s annual report states that we now have over 4,000 recycling points from a standing start.
This is not necessarily the same as the charge on plastic bags because, unlike a trip to the supermarket, buying a coffee is usually an impulse purchase; and waste generated by paper cups amounts to just 0.7% of the UK’s total packaging waste. Action taken at the other end of the chain, to improve recycling facilities, rather than deter purchases, might be a more effective option.
Schemes to tackle waste are welcome, and businesses are ready to play their part, but an additional tax on businesses, one which will increase costs and potentially threaten jobs, is not the answer.