A group of British MPs has called on the government to take a serious step to reduce coffee cup waste – which has grown dramatically in the last few years. In an effort to control the problem, The Environmental Audit Committee has proposed a “latte levy” of a 25 pence (around 30 cents) charge on disposable coffee cups.

The Environmental Audit Committee stated the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year – that is enough to circle the planet five and a half times.

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“Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered,” said Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Mary Creagh MP. “Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and Government has sat on its hands.”

As the country’s coffee shop market is rapidly growing, Creagh has called for a “revolution in recycling,” promoting the reduction of the number of single-use cups, encouraging reusable cups over disposable ones, and recycling of all traditional ones.

The committee also wants implement structure that would enable all coffee cups to be recycled by 2023. If that target is not achieved, the government should ban disposable coffee cups. Moreover, the MPs propose to make producers pay more for packaging that is difficult to recycle and improve labeling that would educate consumers about how they should best dispose of their cup.

A similar charge to the latte levy has already worked very effectively to reduce plastic bag waste in the country. In fact, within the first year of the plastic bag tax, use of these bags was reduced by 83 percent. Just as importantly, it would also play an important role in educating consumers about the necessity to pay closer attention to what we buy and throw away.

You don’t have to live in the UK to make a positive impact on cup waste – you can help keep 500 disposable coffee cups out of the ocean every year by carrying a reusable cup. To find out more ways you can help the planet in your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: quinnanya/Flickr