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British lawmakers call for ban on throw away coffee cups

The British government was criticized Friday by a committee of MPs for failing to promise effective action on Britain’s coffee cup waste.

The Environmental Audit Committee, made up of politicians from the House of Commons, wants Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to introduce a 25 pound pence (35 cents) so-called latte levy on disposable cups.

The committee has called for disposable coffee cups to be banned by 2023 unless all cups can be recycled.

“The government has refused to take any decisive action on the complex issue of coffee cups — including the introduction of a ‘latte levy’ — and has instead chosen to rely on voluntary commitments,” the committee said in a report issued Friday.

MP Mary Creagh, who chairs the committee, said: “The UK’s throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas. Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis. The government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action.”

The committee said it believed a latte-levy would reduce the number of disposable cups uses and would help to fund recycling measures.

In its report, the committee said: “The government response suggests that coffee shops should offer discounts for customers with reusable cups, instead of a levy on disposable cups. In its inquiry, the committee heard that a charge, such as that introduced on plastic bags, was the most effective way to change consumer behavior.”

Creagh added: “By choosing to favor voluntary discounts for reusable cups, the government is ignoring the evidence about what works. The government should look to repeat the success of the 5 pence bag charge by introducing a latte levy.”

The committee also recommended that coffee cup labeling should clearly state where coffee cups can be recycled, saying the government has responded by focusing instead on voluntary anti-litter labeling instead.

Creagh said: “Evidence shows that while 90 percent of people put their coffee cup in recycling bins, only 0.25 percent is recycled due to inadequate bin infrastructure.”

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