Experts estimated a 25p levy could raise £438million and lead to a 30 per cent reduction in the number of cups as more people carry their own. Last night Starbucks became the first firm to break ranks saying it would pilot a 5p charge in selected store

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%.

But the committee said that a disincentive would be more effective than an incentive, citing the success of the 5-pence single-use plastic bag charge. This helps support better coffee cup disposal and reduces contamination, which is the biggest challenge in the recycling process.

Appley Bridge Recycling Ltd is supporting a potential 25p "latte levy", which is a charge to be paid by customers in coffee shops for the use of a throwaway cup.

Some coffee shops in Britain already provide discounts to customers who bring their own cups.

"We found that this did not move the needle in the way we thought it might".

In an attempt to get coffee cup waste under control, a recommendation has been made to start charging for disposables, rather than discounting reusables.

The UK Parliament's environmental audit committee, which looks at how various government departments and public bodies contribute to the environment, also recommended banning disposable coffee cups if they are not all recyclable by 2023. This plastic lining can not be removed by most recycling facilities. The takeaway cups have a plastic lining, which means nearly none are ever recycled. Other efforts were "inconsistent and need targets" to be imposed by the government.

"Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered".

It added: "We recommend that the Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups disposed of in recycling bins should be recycled by 2023".

A report by the parliamentary environmental audit committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK's recycling and reprocessing facilities.

The money raised from those who refused would be used to increase the number of recycling plants able to handle plastic-lined take-away cups.

"The paper cups we manufacture in the United Kingdom are sustainably sourced, responsibly produced, recyclable and, through a number of facilities, are being recycled".

Edwin Harrison, owner of the independent Artisan coffee shop in West London, fears many of his customers would stay away if a charge was brought in. Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.

Last night chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - whose BBC show Hugh's War on Waste first drew attention to the paper cup problem - said the report showed "the United Kingdom has finally woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare".

"By singling out disposable cups the committee is, by its own admission, looking for United Kingdom coffee retailers and their cup providers to underwrite the waste management of all packaging used on the go", he said.

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