British MPs Demand a “Latte Levy” on Disposable Coffee Cups

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

British MPs waging a war on plastic are demanding a “latte levy”, to try to contain the growing environmental catastrophe caused by millions of latte sipping city dwellers discarding their coffee cups after a single use.

‘Latte levy’ of 25p urged by MPs in bid to cut cup waste

By Roger Harrabin

BBC environment analyst

5 January 2018

MPs are calling for a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups – and a total ban unless recycling improves.

A report by the Environmental Audit Committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK’s recycling and reprocessing facilities.

The MPs say throwaway cups should be prohibited altogether by 2023 if they are not all being recycled.

In response, Starbucks said it would try out a 5p cup charge in 20 to 25 central London outlets.

“We will begin the trial in February and initially it will last for three months,” the firm said, adding that it continued to offer a 25p discount to customers who brought their own reusable cups.

The government agrees plastic waste is a problem and will seek evidence on a tax on single-use plastics.

‘Revolution’ needed

The committee’s chair, Mary Creagh MP, said: “The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year – that’s enough to circle the planet five and a half times.

“Almost none are recycled and half a million a day are littered. Coffee cup producers and distributors have not taken action to rectify this and government has sat on its hands.

“The UK’s coffee shop market is expanding rapidly, so we need to kick start a revolution in recycling.”

Read more:

Concerns about recycling and waste disposal have risen in Europe, since China banned imports of foreign waste back in October. Waste and recycling is a sensitive issue in Britain, substantial quantities of waste which is supposed to be recycled seems to end up in landfill or incinerators.


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I hate to be an idiot, but what does “MP” stand for in this context? — “municipal planner”, by any chance?

Members of Parliament, equivalent to US Members of Congress, and equally nutty. Here in Michigan, we’ve had a 10 cent deposit on carbonated soda and beer bottles for a long time, and it works. You return them to the store and you gets your money back. It could work for coffee cups too. It gives homeless people a source of income to dig for them in trash cans.

Patrick MJD

“Ronald P Ginzler January 6, 2018 at 6:10 pm”

Not limited to the homeless, I used to collect refunds on bottles years ago in the UK when I was a kid to fund my candy stash!

Bryan A

Perhaps a 25p per cup charge that is refundable or waivable by returning your prior used cup.


There is a big margin on coffee. Why not charge an extra 5p for the cup and a 25p discount on a refill? [No. I expect the old cup to be binned]


Bryan A, the problem is not about littering (although there is plenty), it’s about the non recyclable nature of plastic covered card. Actually it’s easy to recycle as waste energy but our government and their opposition are dumb. Personally I favour the tax as the coffee companies are avoiding other taxes at present.


You realize that it isn’t the coffee company paying the tax, right? It’s the consumer that paid. They just raised your prices, it didn’t cut into the coffee companies profit.

Russ Wood

German supermarkets charge a deposit on bottles and cans, but the ones I’ve been in also have a machine which reads the barcode on returned items and gives you a credit for use in that supermarket. All automatic- and it WORKS! (Maybe more than their Energiewende…)


Patrick MJD

Whilst I was a policeman in Scotland in the mid 70’s/80’s we collected discarded glass Irn Bru bottles (or any other refundable glass bottle) during night shifts.

Our full height clothing lockers were put to good use storing them, and on a shift of 10 or so, it represented enough bottles to fund a shift night out once a year.

D Matteson

I live in NH, which is New Hampshire not Northern Hemisphere. We are surrounded by states with the five cent deposit requirements on bottles and cans. Because of the distribution nightmare of labeling a lot of these bottles and cans with the deposit tags are sold in the NH stores without having to pay the deposit.

Instead of recycling I keep the empty deposit containers in a separate bin and once or twice a year I bring them over to The Peoples Republic of Vermont (13 miles away), get the deposit money, and bring it back to NH.

A few years ago there was a group of recyclers that were caught taking the deposit containers from one the deposit redemption centers and trucking them out to Michigan to get the ten cent refund.


kcrucible, that’s true of any tax. However a plastic cup tax is one that the big companies wouldn’t be able to avoid, where the little companies can’t. Maybe.


You realize that it isn’t the coffee company paying the tax, right? It’s the consumer that paid. They just raised your prices, it didn’t cut into the coffee companies profit.

You realize this is not true for any significant taxes. The price grows up *faster* than the tax is being added, while consumption drops and profit falls.

Ed Zuiderwijk



Brilliant mate!

What does that mean, Mr Southerndistrict?

Abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms were invented in the days of manuscript and have no proper part on a keyboard and the Twenty-first Century.

A style manual is not a grammar.


This site – for those who don’t already know it – may be of interest.

it doesn’t tell you which version of – say – MP is right in the context you saw it, but it may give you a lead.
And, if you do crosswords – or set them – it is an unending source of inspiration!


Alan Grey

Massive Parasite


Why is it the cups producers and distributors at fault if the end user is the one who throws it to the curb?

DAVIES – revise the wording and rethink …

“Why is it the child producers fault when it is the end user who throws it to the curb?”

Paul r

How about they put a 10p deposit on them that way children, homeless people etc can make some money aswell as help save the planet through recycling. Politicians should try to include people in the solving the problem side of it instead of villianizing them.


What the government is not doing is fostering the advanced use of trash sorting machines that will eventually allow us to mine the garbage dumps for their hidden wealth of resources. Eventually, they will ask us to only do trash in one can and garbage in the other. The machines will do the rest of the sorting and processing and do it more efficiently than any human. This will minimize unions and retirement plans, but they do have to plan for maintenance, repair, and replacement.

Gary Pearse
NW sage

I suggest the MPs rethink their ire. Perhaps they should consider what the public health impact would be if new – ie clean, sterile – cups or containers were NOT used. Cholera epidemic anyone?


Yes, most food service businesses that use disposable cups/containers/utensils do so for health reg reasons. Fewer headaches involved, plus they don’t have to hire dishpit crew.

Gerry, England

The correct point here is that the vast majority take their drinks away with them so they can hardly be given a china mug can they?

Lee L

Rethink landfills.
A mine is a place where valuable things are concentrated enough to allow extraction and purification and that is accessible by road or rail or sea.

Like I said. Rethink landfills.


What business with non plastic cups doesn’t use a (non human) dish washer these days? While there are plenty of instances of food poisoning I doubt any of them are from a coffee cup.

Tom in Florida

Who really gets the 25p and what will they really do with it?

Patrick MJD

It would be collected by the store operator and then sent to Govn’t, a bit like VAT (15%) in the UK and GST in AUS (10%) and NZ (15%). The tax is charged on an item, the consumer pays that tax. The store operator then pays the Govn’t the tax collected. So in effect, store operators become unpaid tax collectors for the Govn’t. Like all taxes, most of the revenue raised disappears in to a consolidated fund and rarely gets used for purpose.


Good luck trying to pay 15% vat in the UK. Thatcher raised it to 17.5%, now it’s 20%.

Patrick MJD

“Jer0me January 6, 2018 at 9:28 pm”

Yes, you are correct, 17.5% VAT. It’s been at least 23 years since I was a VAT collector for UK’s HM Govn’t.


It’s a punitive tax, otherwise known as a sin tax. Its whole purpose is to discourage the activity being taxed and to raise revenue. They’re not even pretending that the money will be used for any particular purpose.

Davies January 6, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Why is it the cups producers and distributors at fault …

If they want to continue in business, they had better come up with a product that can be recycled. It’s fine to blame the end user but, if the market provides them with no alternatives, then it’s not really their fault either.


Reminds me of the ‘save-the-environment’ tax on paper bags in my beloved Los Angeles, yet the bags are made of recycled paper.

IOW, just another lie to steal more of our money.

“Everything government touches turns to crap.”
– Ringo Starr

A C Osborn

It can be recycled, there is a company in the UK already doing so. It is the collection and Delivery to them that is the problem.
They developed the technology themselves without any help from the UK Government.

A C Osborn

There is also the problem of scale, the company involved can handle about a million a year and the usage is billions per year.
By the way these are plastic and paper, the paper cup is coated with plastic on the inside to make them waterproof.

Samuel C Cogar

Wally – January 6, 2018 at 9:24 pm

IOW, just another lie to steal more of our money.

“Yup”, just like the horrendous (US) State and Federal “sales tax” on cigarettes.

Cigarette taxes are the greatest ever “Cash Cow” with BILLION$ collected under the guise of funding healthcare for “smoking” related illnesses and “smoking prevention” publicity …… but less than 7% of the collected tax monies are expended for the aforenoted intended purpose.


it will go into landfill


Isn’t that the idea, to get it into landfills, not the landscape?


Tom in Florida : That is the crucial question. I see nothing wrong with taxing those cups – provided the consumers know where the money goes. Governments need to find as many legitimate ways of finding money as possible. That sort of consumer tax is just perfect. If people don’t like paying it they can avoid it by bringing their own mug from home..


Yet the store already pays numerous taxes, the consumer already pays a sales tax.


I’m always amazed by how business finds savings in volume production or services, but somehow, government doesn’t. In fact, the bigger government is, the less efficient is becomes. Taxpayers need to pay more for the same services. I don’t get it – and governments hope I will never question it.


They should burn those coffee cups for electricity. Throw them in with the wood pellets.


Absolutely. Incineration gets rid of garbage and generates electricity.

The greens think reuse, recycling, and reduction are the only way to go. However, as one wit put it, we may have passed peak recycling. 🙂 Governments may be forced to reconsider incineration as an alternative.


From Wikipedia:
“Most paper cups are designed for a single use and then disposal. Very little recycled paper is used to make paper cups because of contamination concerns and regulations. Since most paper cups are coated with plastic (polyethylene), then both composting and recycling of paper cups is uncommon because of the difficulty in separating the polyethylene in the recycling process of said cups. As of 2016, there are only two facilities in the UK able to properly recycle PE-coated cups; in the absence of such facilities, the cups are taken to landfill or incinerated.”

And that’s why recycling is not a solution.


A firm in New Zealand 30 years ago brought an obsolete coal power station Meremere with the object of burning most of Aucklands rubbish to generate electricity power station They refurbished it but could not gain consent
.Aucklands rubbish is transported to a massive landfill beside the Waikato river and Auckland takes increasing volumes of water from the river .


LarryD, they are missing the point that, the polyethylene will not survive in a garbage dump. There are simply too many hungry bacteria fostered by the nutrients lining the cups for them not to figure out how to break down the plastic. It is happening in many places and to many plastics.

Years ago, when formica was invented and became widely used, the prediction was that we would end up buried in refuse formica. However, within twenty years there were more than one fungi that loved to much on formica. Nature always finds a way to make carbon structures into a food source; it’s just too good to ignore.

Patrick MJD

“gwan January 6, 2018 at 8:17 pm

They refurbished it but could not gain consent…”

Yes, the restrictive environment court. The same court that allowed Masterton District Council to dump untreated sewage into rivers in the Wairarapa in the early 2000’s.

A C Osborn

LarryD, they are already being recycled at one company in the UK, so you are wrong.
Volume is the problem, we are talking billions a year apparently.


What they should do is realize that the cure for everything is not a punitive tax of some kind. I love the threat of a ban if all cups are not recycled. Really? All? That’s never going to happen.

They should wonder why they have all this refuse and no one has figured out how to take advantage of it. It is clear that they could burn it all, along with the wood chips from the US.

Pop Piasa

Hopefully, in the future every urban area will burn it’s own waste for power in clean-burning plants next to their sewage processors, which will produce methane and burnable sludge.
All that’s necessary is the de-vilification of CO2. That will happen when the present misunderstanding of climate sensitivity to doublings of concentration is finally debunked and the benefits of increased atmospheric CO2 concentration become too remarkable to ignore anymore.

Richard Keen

For the past month I’ve been heating my house largely with Amazon boxes in the fireplace.
They’re quite efficient, actually, for a renewable resource that has been arriving at my front porch with amazing regularity in the weeks before Christmas.




I was just writing about this:

Liberals, after all, spend a lifetime with people laughing behind their backs about the liberal arts degree that they hold, so they overcompensate. That is why they are so susceptible to grand quixotic ventures to “save the planet.” Only the genius of the liberal brain can understand that to save the world we must ban plastic water bottles and the production of CO2. They stew over all the styrofoam cups being discarded as they work at Starbucks as baristas.


The ones clutching the bottled water are usually the ones who make the most noise about “saving the planet”.

They need to be hydrated because they’re so hot……..


Also the same ones driving $100,000 Teslas that are taxpayer subsidized.
Where the building the Tesla battery alone emits more CO2 than 7 seven years of driving a gasoline powered car.


Are there no incinerators anywhere able to make the most of the potential heat available from the “mountains” of these used coffee cups? All that potential free fuel?

Maybe they could power the much needed carbon sequestration machines I keep hearing about …….. /sarcastic.

How is such an innocuous item attracting so much attention?

Surely there is a grant available to some science charlatan bent on saving the planet to figure out a means to dispose/re use these things in some way without various countries parliaments getting their knickers in such a twist.

Thinking caps on, dear respected boffins.

Join it all together dear chaps, and ladies.
Earn your keep.

A C Osborn

As I have said up post, they are already recycled, volume is the problem.


“Are there no incinerators anywhere able to make the most of the potential heat available from the “mountains” of these used coffee cups? All that potential free fuel? ”

Very few, when ever one is proposed the ‘Green Worriers’ come out in force screaming “CO2 / pollution / save the children” NIMBY crap…..& it gets turned down.

A C Osborn


Plastic coffee cups? In the US, most disposable coffee cups are paper, not plastic. Some are styrofoam. In the illustration accompanying this post, most of what I see are plastic water and soft drink bottles. So what is the issue here? A small deposit on containers which can be returned to the point of purchase for a refund works splendidly in Michigan. You don’t see plastic or glass cans and bottles littering the streets, that is if they are carbonated beverages. It should be extended to non-carbonated also. But I guess, sigh, we have to pay the carbon tax.

Patrick MJD

I think you will find that while they are made if cardboard, it’s the plastic coating that is the “problem” as it is difficult to separate the recyclables. Maybe we follow Ethiopia’s lead and make drinking coffee a ceremony using a real fire, roast the beans right there in front of you, brew the coffee in a clay pot and drink from a china cup?


There’s also no evidence of any shadows, yet the car driving by has a nice black shadow underneath it.

Fake photo in my opinion.


Deposit does not go to government. Shown to work to reduce refuse.
Tax does. No evidence it reduces refuse.

You can figure out the rest.


Ronald P Ginzler

Methinks the illustration accompanying this post is entirely staged. Every bit of rubbish in the shot looks remarkably pristine, even the brown paper.

Photoshopped perhaps?


I agree. That pile of litter looks rather well arranged. If not Photoshopped, surely staged with clean-ish trash – we wouldn’t want the snowflake photographers to get their hands dirty. 😉


Sorry, my posts ended up the wrong way round.

michael hart

It’s mainly just another London-bubble issue fueled by MPs talking too much to Greenpeas and the BBC, coupled with their success at banning free plastic bags from supermarkets. I don’t see any paper cups clogging the streets where I currently live ~70 minutes from London. If refuse collection in London is inadequate, I suggest they either employ some more people to pick them up, or encourage Londoners to be more careful about disposing of their empties.

In the same vein, the Capital’s great and good have also been hard at work recently worrying about the prevalence of too many of the wrong sort of beggars in the streets of Windsor in the run-up to the Royal Wedding thing.


michael hart

“too many of the wrong sort of beggars in the streets of Windsor”


I have been using my own container at Starbucks every day for the last 3 to 5 years. I get a 10 cent (CDN) discount.


Starbucks? yeah, but what about when you want coffee?

James Bull

There are several different companies selling and promoting reusable and/or compostable beverage cups in the UK I have no problem with reusable but the compostable ones like their carrier bag equivalent are made of corn starch, so we’re meant to use food to make things to be thrown away which to me is wrong like burning food as “biofuel” as there are people going hungry but as others have said where does logic and compassion come into being green.

James Bull


James Bull

They had a government campaign in 1970’s UK, ‘don’t be a litter lout’.

TV commercials, posters etc. I was a kid at the time and it made a lasting impression on me, so much so I seethe when I see tossers, tossing crap out their car windows. They are invariably a generation or so younger than me and obviously missed the campaign.

What strikes me is that whilst there may not have been a short term gain in terms of results for the government, anyone of my generation feels now, much like me about litter.

Usual government screw up. No instant result so they abandoned a perfectly good, self regulating, voluntary, not taxed, environmentally friendly campaign.

hot scot

exactly right.

the problem is that global environmentalism seems to be taught in schools but not the local version, i.e don’t litter, don’t use graffiti.

we live near some shops and some primary schools. immediately after the schools turn out you can follow the trail of sweet wrappers from school to shops and onwards to their homes.

ten years later, because they have never been taught, they are the ones throwing their half eaten macdonalds meal-and I use the word advisedly-from their cars.

as for the coffee cups. yes tax them. there are some 2.5 billion used a year.

personally I think the takeaways ought to be forced to clean up the mess their customers make and fund dedicated litter patrols within a mile or so of their premises as well as fund the education of young people that is necessary. an appalling amount of cartons, cups, styrofoam, plastic lids etc are thrown away carelessly and our seaside environment down here suffers


Right-on Garymount. How much effort does it take to buy/collect five cloth grocery bags to take along and reuse, and to purchase a plastic/metal coffee travel mug to fill up with coffee/tea? I do it to reduce litter, not to save the planet. I also use doggie bags for the critters. And I pick up trash from those who are simply too damn lazy to look after themselves. My home is one block from a convenience store and has a bus stop next door- garbage dump heaven. It costs me nothing – and I shouldn’t be taxed for any of this mess! Some by-law enforcement would reduce laziness quickly. Make those responsible pay. There are a lot of seniors in the neighbourhood. We are the ones looking after this issue- not the snowflakes.



The problem with by-law enforcement is there has to be someone to enforce the law, and the problem with that is, they can’t be everywhere at once.

Just teach kids that littering is unacceptable. As climatereason pointed out, the green blob is very quick to teach the kids all about the global problems of litter, but if no one dropped it in the first place, half the problem would be solved.


At least pollution (unlike the much-hyped nonsense we know as “climate change”) is a real problem; and a plastic cup tax makes infinitely more sense than a “carbon tax”. But I have to wonder if it will be merely a deterrent, or if the government (yah, right!) will actually do something appropriate and effective with their new-found money.


this will probably be just another case of government just rearranging a problem instead of fixing it and finding a way to clip your ticket along the way.

Russ Wood

South Africa has a tax on single-use plastic supermarket bags (paid by the manufacturer). This WAS supposed to fund recycling plants. Guess what? The money just went into the fiscus, where politicians can spend it on their annual new SUV…

F. Leghorn

It is NOT paid by “the manufacturers”. The tax is “collected” by the manufacturers. Quoting Ronaldus Maximus.


Good point, F. Leghorn. Gotta love Reagan.

Patrick MJD

Starbucks (Not that I am, or was, a regular drinker of their product) make some really nice steel, thermal, mugs with a rubber sealed lid and rubber handle. I think mine cost about NZ$25 and I have had it nearly 20 years. It’s mostly used for cold drinks these days.…0…1.1.64.psy-ab..6.2.964…0i13k1j0i8i13i30k1.0.3-NU5nyjCOo

Disposable coffee cups have been targeted here in Aus for years and it’s possible the UK MP is just trying to be trendy and playing “Me too” catchup politics.

Front-yard newspaper addict

This article, from a local front-yard newspaper, illustrates how hard it is to move obvously good recycling ideas forward:

There is a fear that CFCs and Halons residing in the stratosphere has led to a thinning of the ozone layer. As a result, a senior Member of the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill to force harmless recycling of remaining CFCs and Halons.

The bill would require the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use only surplus CFCs and Halons in its weather balloons. This would capitalize upon the gases’ ability to reach the stratosphere and reside there while at the same time the ozone would be shielded by the balloons’ fabric. The plan would thus make use of waste gases while conserving valuable helium.

A rider to the bill would impose a similar requirement on civilian commercial users of blimps. However, the blimp lobby in Washington D.C. (led by Goodyear) has protested, stating that its constituents have no need or intention to send blimps to the stratosphere.

The bill’s sponser has proposed a compromise in which blimp operators would be allowed a special tax credit to allow design, manfacture, and installation of ballast systems to offset the inability to use helium, and thus keep the blimps at normal altitudes.

The bill has recently stalled due to arguments over whether or not lead and/or spent uranium should be allowed in the ballasts. Apparently at least congressman has had negative experiences with lead balloons, and is worried that similar issues could carry over to blimps. However, this impasse is expected to end soon and the bill brought to the floor.


This will go over like a lead zeppelin

[it had to be said]

Russ Wood

You DO know that the Mythbusters (TM) team actually made a lead balloon, don’t you?

F. Leghorn

Russ Wood on January 7, 2018 at 4:02 am
You DO know that the Mythbusters (TM) team actually made a lead balloon, don’t you?

They also made a miniature Hindenburg. That demonstration worked even better. It was definitely a lead balloon.


the base is methane, CH4. C=12, H = 1, total 16. Air is approx 80% N2 = 28, plus 20% O2 = 16, average 28.8. So a methane filled balloon will float and rise in the atmosphere.

CFC = Chlorofluorocarbon = eg, dichlorodifluorocarbon, = freon 12. 2 x Cl = 2 x 35.45 = 71. 2 x F = 2 x 19 = 38, 1 x c = 1 x 12 = 12. Total 121. Average = 24.2. Will just float and rise, but payload will be negligible. Compared with a helium filled balloon, with a figure of 4, it would be financially unviable (except to a government department, wanting to get rid of balloon skins!)

Patrick MJD

The image is ironic. A bin for newspapers and magazines only, with a pile of plastic on the floor below. I would not be surprised if there was a fine for someone trying to dispose of a plastic item in the bin. One reason many bins have been removed from London streets is as a direct result of IRA terror bombings of the 80’s, which were placed in waste bins.


At least they didn’t put the bombs in the toilets ala Lethal Weapon 2.

Nobody expects a bomb in the toilet.

Patrick MJD

You haven’t eaten in Bombay.


They would be better off just having a trash bin and collecting it all for incineration. Unfortunately waste management has become an integral part of the green religion and we spend billions doing the ‘right’ thing according to these religious dictates, with minimal environmental benefit.

A C Osborn

Incinration does not go down well with the UK public, because of the exhaust gases containing toxins.
They have to be tightly controlled and yes the Greens got them a bad name.


Greens spoil every working method and want to replace it something awfully complex.


Hey it beats trying to save the planet with bad science and carbon taxes globally.

“Why are we here? – Plastic” The world needs plastic – George Carlin video, good one if you haven’t seen it:

This is just grasping and grandstanding by MPs who should be paying attention to other rather more important stuff going on – the Environmental Audit Committee is an utter disgrace – rammed with a procession NGOs and activists – many of whom receive state funds to lobby government – which is actually illegal… not that that actually bothers the dimwits on the committee.

AIUI the last UK company running a bottle deposit scheme had trouble getting it to work

I deeply resent the endless prod nosing by campaigners keen to exercise power over their fellow citizens by fair means or foul and generally dipping the victims wallets in the process.

The drinks industry is getting a lot of busybody flak at the moment in all sorts of areas – plastic pollution , sugar, alcohol, plain packaging, tax evasion….. – the menagerie of busybody antics is extensive..

The ghastly creep that is the BBC’s Roger Harrabin slimes his way around it all making sly insinuations and offering his (tax payer funded) platform available to useful politicians willing to promote his causes.

It is … what you ‘Merkans I believe call a “crock”.

ps I see the logic of a scheme – but why not extend it to cover all garbage and set up co-ops where the collectors directly benefit from the resale of recycled items… ? That wouldn’t do of course – since the grossly overpriced *cartel* of rubbish handlers in the UK would be up in arms….

A C Osborn

Our local site already does, for still usable products.
They benefit local Charities.

Extreme Hiatus

“In response, Starbucks said it would try out a 5p cup charge in 20 to 25 central London outlets.”

Ha ha. What heroes. They’re going to help out by pocketing an extra nickel per cup. Not enough to make any difference to 99.9% of their customers’ behavior but does marginally add to their profits.

I don’t think I would ever buy anything at Starbucks. Too expensive for what you get. I get coffee Americana at OXXO in Mexico and it costs 18 pesos – $0.94 cents..but I usually make my own coffee for cheaper…

J Mac

If the proposed tax is rejected, the headline should read:
“Not So, Latte Dough!”


Interesting photo, from what I see 1 coffee cup, the rest mostly plastic water containers.


The truth is that refunds on recyclable materials are not to promote recycling in America. They are to promote cleanliness. We pay to keep our streets clean and not to recycle material. Look at the math and economics. It’s just too expensive to pick up and sort packaging and gain a decent profit from recycling so we charge the product users for “recycling”.


How is a plastic cup “pollution?”
Matter is not created or destroyed.
Someone took some matter from the ground, applied some processes to it, with energy taken from the same ground, and transformed it from one style of matter to another.

Where’s the harm? Was heat used, and a toxic fume was in the smoke? Does the new product radiate and cause cancer? Were’s the harm in a bit of matter being transformed from one configuration to another?

The best answer might be: it took energy, and that energy throws CO2 in the atmosphere, sending us to DOOM. Maybe.

Folks, a piece of paper along the side of the road may be unsightly, but we have to be clear what we mean by “pollution.” That piece of paper may have come from a branch of a tree right there, and it has ended up right where it started. What’s the Big Diff?

if you lived by the sea as I do you would not be dismissing plastic cup pollution.

there are hundreds of plastic items washed up along every yard of the shore each year. I spend a lot of time collecting it. some is local some comes from ships.

google ‘penzance, britains first plastic free town’ and you will begin to understand the extent of the problem.



ClimateReason: Exactly. So, the problem is not that we are using too many coffee cups; the problem is that coffee cups are getting in the waterways. And how is that a problem? I would guess they are a problem when they get sucked into water intakes on boat engines, etc.

But that is not what the Guilt Mongers are hawking.

Another way to look at this: the Marxist Guilt Mongers are against the Nukelar Family, since the Nukelar Family is one of the bedrock institutions of our prevailing society. They have many strategies to weaken the Nukelar Family. One is to create a divide between me and my kids. The “Pollution” gambit is a major way to do this. My kid learns all about how we are “hurting” Mother Earth by being “wasteful” with water. My kid comes home, and sees me running the water while I brush my teeth, or cook. My kid tells me to turn the water off, since we should not be wasteful.

I ask my kid, “where does this water go?” He says, “down the drain.” I ask: “where does it go, then?” Now, mind you, he has LEARNED ALL OF THIS IN SCHOOL. He says: “to the water treatment plant.” I ask, then where does it go?” He says, “to the river.” I ask, “then where does it go? He says “to the ocean.” I ask, “then, where does it go?” He says,” it evaporates into the clouds.” I ask, “where does it go, then?” He says, “It rains on the ground when the clouds come back over the land.” I ask “where does it then go? He says, “to the lake.” I ask, “where does it go then?” He says, “to the water treatment plant for our water supply.” I ask, “where does it go then?” He says, “in the pipes to come to our house.” I ask, “where does it go then?” He says, “it comes out the pipe when you turn the handle.”

I say, “OK, where did the water get wasted?”
I ask,”Is water leaving the planet?” He says no.
He decides, based on what they have taught him, that I am not hurting Mother Gaia.

However, now I have to explain to this kid of tender age that anti-Americans have gotten into positions to destroy the family by putting a divide between him and me.

This is what the Communists want: kids who see their parents as immoral for polluting, for not eating low-fat, for wasting water, and so on. Before they even get to “Gender Studies” in college, their mind has already been poisoned, and poisoned against me.

As well as against God.

Look: toxic chemicals and nukelar waste can render land uninhabitable. We need to protect our water supply. But a coffee cup is only a problem when it goes where it is not supposed to, and damages someone’s inboard motor, or some such.


They can’t do that, environmental taxes are only for the peasants.


Why pick on coffee cups or any particular manufactured item? After all you could scrap all forms of taxation, most notably income tax and rely completely on resource taxing but somehow I don’t think that’s what our concerned movers and shakers had in mind.


Oh, but plastic and paper are so cheap! You need more expensive cups, so that people feel the pain! It is important to feel the pain on consumption! Greens don’t measure consumption in monetary units, or mass, but litres and pieces. Cheap cups make them mad.


Plastic cups for a latte? In all the USA you can’t get coffee in plastic cups – it comes in industrial weight paper cups, which probably hurt the environment much more. Are the people in England so poor they can’t use paper? And I can’t imagine a store allowing Custer home cups for hot beverages – seems like significant sanitary issues there.

Patrick MJD

Plastic coated paper cups.

Michael Carter

Make the cups eatable. Ice cream cones don’t litter the streets. Problem solved


Now that I think about it I realize there is *not* an ice cream cone pollution problem! That’s a great idea, Michael! 🙂

“MPs are calling for a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups – and a total ban unless recycling improves.

A report by the Environmental Audit Committee says the tax should be used to improve the UK’s recycling and reprocessing facilities.

The MPs say throwaway cups should be prohibited altogether by 2023 if they are not all being recycled.”

It appears to be an announcement that despite the referendum to leave the European Union, the MPs still implement Europe’s policies directly!

There is nothing wrong with single use packaging. It is an important part of running small businesses, and it is essential to the safety, affordability, and abundance of foods we all love to buy and sell.

Oh by the way, plastic is a petroleum product, and jwhen environmentalists want to ban some legitimate product, technology or invention, there is always some horse manure replacement product that they will force you to buy. Fake economics 101

First, find out what Europe is commanding member states. Next, see what Germany is selling. You just went a loooong way to figuring out what the political class is doing.

As for the science, I think that our local governments have done, and are supposed to do, a wonderful, top-notch job of disposing of trash. And hopefully it is not extremely expensive.

Sometimes I think these globalists want to make basic services extremely expensive, make it impossible to run a business, and turn everything but soy beans into a luxury item. For the environment, of course.


January 6, 2018 at 9:33 pm

First, find out what Europe is commanding member states. Next, see what Germany is selling. You just went a loooong way to figuring out what the political class is doing.
Sometimes I think these globalists want to make basic services extremely expensive, make it impossible to run a business, and turn everything but soy beans into a luxury item. For the environment, of course.

Exactly, except the global billionaires don’t want to make it impossible to run a business, they want the regulations imposed that will prevent anyone being able to afford to START A NEW business which will compete with their existing business (one which was started long ago when the barriers to start-up didn’t exist).
These “rules and regulations” are the key to a Fas ci st state and is why they hate Trump so much, because he is removing many of the costly, petty regulations that are stifling competition to their global cartel operations.


F. Leghorn

Please don’t say that ever again. Some econut will come up with a cup made of horse manure.

Great. Then we’ll have Big Horse Manure.

8 billion people pitching plastic anything three or four times a day, 365 times a year is mind boggling. Recycling glass bottels or switching to paper cups that can be burned does make sense. Just as we can no longer leave junk floating around in space, a finite area, 8 billiin people can’t be creating trash with no regard to how it is to be disposed of. On the other hand, it took the dull of mind 3,000 years to fiqure out that crapping in the street was not a good solution. Oops, I forgot, Indian government still has problems concvincing people that it isn’t cool to dump anywhere when the mood hits one. After all, what’s 30,000,000 dumps a day!

Yeah, we should go back to delivering wine and milk in hand crafted amphorae with slave galleys. It’s nicer for the environmentalists to sleep at night.

Patrick MJD

“amtr1 January 6, 2018 at 9:32 pm

8 billion people pitching plastic anything three or four times a day, 365 times a year is mind boggling.”

8 billion people, 3 – 4 times per day, 365 times a year, on what planet? Not this one. You will find these people in latte sipping cities. Been to Ethiopia? All glass bottles are “washed”, or you could say recycled, for the locals. You can roughly work out how old a bottle is and how many times it has been used by the “wear” marks on the bottles at the collar of the neck and the bottom. They are “white” as the bottles rattle together in crates.


Who drinks coffee out of disposable plastic?

Iced coffees are served in transparent plastic cups, because they are so beautiful.


They probably are. And makes a lot more sense than hot coffee 🙂

Anyone with common sense. A disposable plastic cup is extremely thin material, and conducts heat too readily – burnt fingers if you try to pick it up when full of hot coffee. That is why there are plastic coffee cup holders, suitable for holding the cup, and with a handle for the fingers, so as to stop them getting burnt. When finished the cup goes in the proper bin to be recycled or used as fuel, and the holder is retained for the next few years.


I’ve never seen anything like that. The few times I’ve purchased coffee, it was in a cardboard cup with an extra wrap for insulation where you pick it up.


I like the renewable tea (chai) cups used in many parts of India. They are unglazed clay. When done, you just dump it on the ground in heaps. Daily, these heaps are collected, water added, remade into cups and fired.

Try that on ‘the latte set’. True renewables.

Better yet, recycle the “latte set”. Maybe turn them into something useful.

Pat Lane

I never realised what a serious issue coffee cups are. I thought lack of clean drinking water, malaria caused by the banning of DDT, lack of electricity and similar issues faced by way too many people on this planet were important.
Now I realise its global warming and coffee cups.

Mick Walker

Deposits on cups?
A source of income for kids and the homeless. (And junkies?)

What could possibly go wrong?

Every waste bin empty, and surrounded by scattered rubbish!
Do you imagine that every deposit hunter will put it all back after they’ve searched?

A sign, “No deposit items are left in this bin overnight”, perhaps?
Yeah, right.

Here in the US, it is now “mandatory” that every plastic cup in every hotel room (plastic foam or paper coffee cup style and the even lighter plastic drinking cup style) be enclosed in its own disposable plastic envelope.

Now, not every hotel and motel room in every state is occupied every night, and not every coffee cup and drinking cup in every room is used every night. But some bureaucrat and his/her/its lawyer and his/her/its supervisor is certainly he/she/it too has contributed to the global “health” of every hotel user in the US every night by demanding every cup be thrown away, its individual plastic envelope is thrown away, and all of that excess plastic (er, fossil fuel) is used to make the plastic cups, their plastic envelopes, their fabrication and wrapping fee, their shipping and storage fees, their unwrapping and disposal fee, and the excess garbage disposal costs ….

26 million excess cups and wrappers per day thrown away?


“The government agrees plastic waste is a problem and will seek evidence on a tax on single-use plastics.” Of course, government officials will always agree with anything they think will give them an excuse for imposing new taxes, which they will waste on ensuring they get re-elected.


but, but, but when we leave the EU and assert immigration controls there will be no one to sell us coffee anyway.

Peter Lewis Hannan

Here in Guadalajara, at least, SB offers the option of having your drink in a real, washable mug, and reduces the price by M$7, about US30 cents. Why not?

Tom in Florida

When I was a young PFC in the military I was assigned to make coffee for the Company office each morning. One day I took it upon myself to clean the Company Gunnery Sergeant’s coffee mug. The inside was coated with a thick black coffee residue and it took me quite a while to get it sparkling clean. The Gunny flipped a lid telling me it took him over 15 years to get the mug that way and make the coffee taste just how he wanted it. Now he had to start all over. And yes, I got a lot of shit details assigned to me after that.


What about the high-school kid from Waterloo Ontario that fermented plastic about 10 years ago?


Short sighted. Everyone likes or doesn’t like something. But then politicians love controlling money . . . and people.

I heard a story yesterday that at one coffee shop a customer took in their own reusable cup. The bartista made the required coffee in the usual disposable plastic cup then tipped it into the reusable plastic cup and threw away the disposable cup.

On a more serious note, many public waste bins in the UK were removed because the IRA (Irish Republican Army for those allergic to TLA’s) had a habit of putting bombs in them. Many have now been replaced with hanging transparent plastic bags but they are not as common as once.

Just burn the waste in power stations would be the practical solution. One day i imagine they will start to opencast mine landfill sites for fuel.

Non Nomen

One day i imagine they will start to opencast mine landfill sites for fuel.

The Chinese already do it, near Peking.

Martin A

I can’t find it at the moment but I remember that there was an analysis that showed that using a disposable plastic cup consumed less natural resources than using a ceramic mug and then washing and drying it.

Patrick MJD

Penn and Teller?


It appears to me that the collection of rubbish around the dedicated bin means that the depositers had looked for somewhere to dump their trash but had failed to find a trash bin. One item starts the ball rolling.
Answer, more trash bins


Just a brief note – Under EU rules incineration is classified and “Thermal Recycling”.


And strictly forbidden as a free choice. You may only do it once all other forms of recycling have failed. This means it is really diffcult to burn anything even in new clean and efficient facilities.


Why is it sustainable and politically correct to:
1. Cut down trees
2. Shred them
3. Burn them in a powerplant
4. Produce electricity

But not to:
1. Cut down trees
2. Shred them
4. Turn them into latte cups
5. Use the cups
6. Burn them in a powerplant
7. Produce electricity


A good question that idiot MPs can’t work out.

Patrick MJD

“TinyCO2 January 7, 2018 at 2:40 am

A good question that idiot MPs can’t work out.”

A good question that idiot can’t work out. Fixed!

Tom in Florida

Or that the MPs WON’T work out. No more money if you fix a problem.



Ed Zuiderwijk

At 25 p per cup you replace them by good old-fashoined crockery and can employ someone at minimum wage to do the washing up.


True. Green ‘economy’ in action.

Non Nomen

Sorry, but that’s not sustainable. It takes far too much water and washing-up liquid and fuel to heat the water and energy to clean the waste water and all that. The Dreamy Greenies just don’t understand that thermal recycling is the immediate solution.


Given that many (or maybe all) of the large coffee shop companies are avoiding paying the proper taxes in the UK by legitimate fiddles, I favour massive taxes on disposable coffee cups. Maybe there could be a lower tax on companies with less than 50 employees.

But I’m fine with those cups being ‘recycled’ in an energy making incinerator.

Peta of Newark

So what really is going on here…

1. Similar to plastic carrier bags, previously given free from supermarkets, our elders/betters have convinced themselves that the country is being buried by these things. As my main hobby (only remaining vice) is simply driving to new different places all around England, I can tell that that was patently untrue. The UK was not under a deluge of these discarded sacks.
This is patently= Magical Thinking, as practised by the chronically depressed.

2. Our leaders have previously stipulated that any plastic which comes into any contact with any ‘foodstuff’ must, under thereat of fine/prison, be Brand New Virgin Plastic.
Totally NO RECYCLING allowed there.

3. They are patently irritated by folks drinking coffee. It bothers them. Ans what sort of folks are easily irritated? Not sufferers of Kwashkior by any chance? And not in any way similar to the irritation they suffer from folks keeping their houses warm, from eating meat, from making their food tasty with salt etc etc etc

4. Recycling again. In pubs, when I used to drink, one could return to the bar with your empty glass and bar-staff would re-fill it. Save on the washing up etc.
To do so now is a capital offence. Cross Contamination you see?
Similarly, free water fountains & glasses at the end of the bar have disappeared. Infection Risk innit?

5. At one establishment I visited, Winter Storm Norman the 97th was howling through the outdoor patio area and blowing open the large double doors leading to it. Man was it cold.
I ventured to put the latch on one of the doors and that solved the problem of both blowing open and letting all the heat out.
No. The manager saw me and as fast as he could, came and unlocked the door while delivering the admonishment: “Fire Door you see. Must be open at all times”

I visit the boys room at same establishment. At far end is a door with a push-button combination lock on it. Also 2 notices – “Fire Door” and “Must Be Locked At All Times”
(Exactly *who* is losing their sanity at this point?)

6. Finally and not least 2 related points.
6.1 If they were *really serious about this ‘problem’, why stop at 25 pence per cup. If an end is needed to this ‘pollution’, why not £25 per cup. That would stop the problem in it tracks.
6.2 Where the revenue goes. A very recent interweb story I saw was comparing the costs of refurbishing various famous landmarks around the world. Taj Mahal, Tower of Pisa, this temple, that carved sandstone city etc. Some were getting into 100’s of million of ££££ refurbishment costs.
Until the UK Houses of Parliament.
Three point five billion pounds. £3,500, 000,000.
Goof grief. The Eurocrats just helped themselves to £320 million for a brand new parliament building. Everyone was horrified at that yet these self centred muppets are going for 11 times as much. And it will invariably double within hours of work actually starting. Just as these things always do.

My actual point (6) is that the are being ‘less than truthful’
In normal circumstance, that destroys any amount of trust that exists between the parties.

So, a silly question really, what else are they being ‘less than honest about’?

And doncha love what they doing at the Palace of Westminster.
Its main problems are, seemingly and as reported by Auntie Beeb
1, the heating system isn’t up to scratch. What. In these days of global warming and what about the centuries worth of forebears that have been through the place? How did they cope?

2. It is getting damp.
Good grief, its on the bank of a huge river.
They really are doing a King Canute on this one yet have convinced themselves that by throwing enough money at ‘the problem’, it will be solved. They really do think they can ‘stop the tide’
Is Knut laughing or crying right now?

Peta of Newark

I could have invented a whole new phrase there – ‘Goof Grief’

Defn: The expression of amazement when someone does something truly dumb, even by their own usual standards of ‘goofiness’

Bruce Cobb

Charley Brown was ahead of his time.


I agree wholeheartedly about the daftness of our rules and how everyone interprets them in different ways but I can understand why the refurbishment of the Houses of parliament would be more expensive than a new building or refurbishing an old building without the demands on Westminster. The heritage demands in the UK would be far higher than most countries. Labour costs to repair historic features would be meteoric. Extracting old safety and fire systems, wiring, plumbing etc and then putting them back in to last another 50-100 years will be eye watering. They’ll probably build undernearth too. Add the reluctance of the MPs to move out…

The sensible option would be to move them out altogether and build a brand new parliament building complex, with apartments for MPs and all the things necessary for security. But MPs would never give up their London life.


January 7, 2018 at 3:12 am
The sensible option would be to move them out altogether and build a brand new parliament building complex, with apartments for MPs and all the things necessary for security. But MPs would never give up their London life.

But MPs would never give up their London lucrative perks/expenses/sk ams.



Tiny, Steve,
A simple solution is to give Ullapool (which has a golf course – and a ferry to Stornoway!) a Central Postcode – say WC5 – but for a limited period – say five years.
That will ensure that our honourable (and noble) members are still co-located in ‘London’, whilst having an incentive to ensure the job is done on time [and – with a twist such as guaranteeing that ten or fifteen percent of any savings against the budget are distributed to members and peers – on or below budget].
If their expenses for returning to their constituencies [or simple attendance for the peers] are kept at previous levels [when based in London proper] the taxpayer might come out a few bob ahead. Nice.
Better – we might get shot of some of the most self-serving souls in – or seeking election to – Parliament; a win-win situation if it comes to pass . . .

PS – no fee requested for this solution.


I have just come back from New Guinea, driving around you can see some of the rivers around Port Moresby used as rubbish dumps. I did not realise it was us brits and our coffee cups that were responsible.

Brain dead MPs all they can think to do to alleviate the problem is raise another tax.


Recycling coffee paper cups is a nutty idea.
Make windmills, few dozens or even hundreds, if you are ardent paper cup drinker, stick them to your roof tiles and hey presto, free renewable electricity. If you are really enterprising you might get government subsidy for such environmentally and politically correct project.


Love the windmill design! 🙂

One of the benefits from this kind of windmill is it won’t kill any birds. The birds will just knock them over and go on about their business.

Non-life-threatening windmills are a *good* thing.

Life threatening windmills are a VERY BAD thing.

Greg Cavanagh

The picture has no coffee cups at all, so zero net effect on litter.

The solution is to increase the bin size, the number of bins, and the collection timetable.


I noticed that too. The picture looks staged.

Greg Cavanagh

Probably not staged. The bin only takes news papers and magazines. So if you have something else, you throw it at the foot of the bin, because you’re not allowed to put it in the bin.

The English have heavy fines for putting the wrong rubbish in the bins.


Since the problem is clearly a lifestyle issue, it’s not going to be resolved by taxation or similar. Taking a cue from cigarette packaging, I’ve written to my MP suggesting all disposable cups should carry prominent health warnings, eg Stop! Think! Buying this drink can seriously damage your environment, plus suitable photos of choked rivers etc,


Good to know Britain has solved all its problems and can now concentrate on coffee cups.