Food & Drink

On the pulse: Wimbledon shoppers give thumbs up to latte levy

Wimbledon shoppers would welcome a 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups, following calls today from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) to reduce waste.

The UK throws away 2.5 billion coffee cups every year, amounting to 30,000 tonnes of waste.

Of 54 we people surveyed, 87% said they would be happy to see a charge introduced if it encouraged more people to switch to reusable cups.

Shopper Aida Bilteanu, 27, felt consumers should incur the cost if they were not willing to bring a reusable cup with them.

She said: “Of course I wouldn’t feel great about paying more, but if it was 25p every day, I would just buy a reusable cup.

“And to be honest, it’s my own fault for being lazy. I could just buy one.”

Others feel that the burden of a ‘latte levy’ tax should fall on the producers that don’t do enough to make disposable cups recyclable.

EAC Chair Mary Creagh MP said: “Coffee shops have been pulling the wool over customers’ eyes, telling us their cups can be recycled, when less than 1% are.

“If a sustainable recycling system for disposable coffee cups cannot be set up by 2023, they should be banned.”

Kaldi Coffee, an independent café next to Wimbledon Station, sits opposite branches of Starbucks, Pret a Manger and Little Waitrose.

Kaldi Coffee owner Anna feels it is these kinds of companies that should bear the brunt of the 25p charge if it is passed on to producers.

She said: “It’s the big companies who generate the most waste, not us.

“If it going to be the producer, then it should be a progressive tax, say 25p for every cup over 10,000 used.”

Starbucks say that 1.8% of their customers in the UK used reusable cups, and they will be trialling a 5p charge on paper cups from February in 20 to 25 London branches.

The funds will be used by environmental charity, Hubbub, to run a behaviour change study to determine how the public can be encouraged to use reusable drink containers.

Pret a Manger in Wimbledon offers 50p discounts to customers who use a reusable cup for their coffee, but the EAC say that uptake of these offers is low at only 1-2% of coffee purchases and concluded that a charge will be more effective.

Featured image courtesy of jrsquee via Flickr, with thanks

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