Since news of the UK government rejecting the ‘latte levy’ proposal, one of the UK’s biggest coffee retailers, Costa Coffee has announced they will recycle half a billion coffee cups every year by 2020. This promising news will hopefully contribute to reducing the number of disposable coffee cups thrown away each year, amounting to a total of 2.5 billion!
Costa Coffee’s pledge is directly linked to the increase of plastic waste our country is producing. Drastic action needs to be taken to tackle the current plastic crisis, as local councils are having trouble managing the amount of waste we have since China’s ban. Since the beginning of 2018, China who was one of the UK’s biggest importers of plastic waste has refused any future importation of plastic materials. Shortly after the UK Government released their ‘25 Year Environment Plan’, which sets out their goals for improving the environment by 2050.
After the announcement from Costa Coffee Environment Minister Therese Coffey commented, “Congratulations Costa on taking this significant step to help coffee lovers do the right thing and increase recycling. We all have a responsibility to our environment and this is a significant step by a British business which should dramatically increase the number of disposable coffee cups we recycle in this country.”
Costa Coffee will be joining fellow competitors such as Starbucks, Cafe Nero, and Pret a Manger by encouraging customers to think more about disposable cup wastage. Most coffee shops offer a discount of up to 50p for customers who bring their own reusable cups, and this has had a positive reaction as travel mug sales have increased by 537%.
Peter Goodwin, the co-director of Simply Cups, the UK’s only recycling scheme stated on the subject, “The main issue is that effectively the price per tonne to the waste management companies received for cups has meant it hasn’t been economical for them to take the cups to the paper mills - there hasn't been enough profit in it for them. We realised that was actually the hurdle we had to overcome if we were going to cut through this, and as the market leader we felt we should.”
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