English coffee drinkers could soon be charged to use takeaway coffee cups, after the environment committee at the British parliament suggested a 25p (€0.29) levy, to combat parlous recycling rates.
Although disposable coffee cups are recyclable, EAC say that most are not recycled, due to the cups' bonded plastic liner and the difficulties of recycling packaging that has been contaminated by food or drink.
The company says it will trial a 5p disposable cup charge in 20-25 of its Central London stores.
Starbucks said it would also continue the 25 pence (28 euro cent) discount it already offers to customers who bring their own cup.
The latte levy is seen as necessary following the unsuccessful trial of a 50-pence discount for customers who bring their own reusable cup to Pret a Manger, Costa, Starbucks and other leading coffee shop chains.
The Committee has asked the Government to require coffee cups from cafes without in-store recycling systems to be printing with "not widely recycled" labels to raise awareness of the issue.
Starbucks' website states: "Ever since we opened in the United Kingdom, 20 years ago, we have looked at ways to encourage and support the use of reusable cups".
Less than 1% of coffee cups in the United Kingdom are recycled.
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One system created to tackle the problem already exists.
"The public needs a simple, United Kingdom wide solution, one which is made possible by the introduction of an on-the-go waste management infrastructure".
Thomas also identifies that it would cost around 5p tax per cup to support a cup recycling network on a national scale but she agrees that if the coffee houses had to pay a 25p levy it would be a preventative act that is more likely to effect change.
Industry figures have called for any charge to come alongside a coherent plan of change across the supply chain, not just focusing on consumer behaviour.
"We heard evidence that consumers are more responsive to a charge than a discount and that a charge on disposable cups could reduce use by up to 30 percent."
"Indications are that introducing a tax on coffee cups will significantly deter shoppers, with over one third saying it would negatively affect how often they visited their local high street", said Neil Whittall, chairman of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group.
The cross-industry collaboration aims included to work towards delivering a long-term, nationwide paper cup recycling solution which builds on the recycling activities achieved so far by the paper cup industry.