A petition signed by more than 2,000 people calling for an introduction of a charge on takeaway cups - also known as a ‘latte levy’ - will be presented to Welsh government deputy minister Hannah Blythyn today.
We consume around 237 single-use coffee cups and over 320million other single use cups in Wales each year. If lined up end to end, these 557 million takeaway cups would be enough to circle the earth’s equator with room to spare.
Action on waste
Bleddyn Lake, the Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson, said: “We must reduce the number of these cups. Just recycling them won’t solve the problem, which is why we’re calling on the Welsh Government to introduce a small charge, commonly called a ‘latte levy’.
“The Welsh Government are quite rightly proud of having introduced the carrier bag charge in 2011 which has encouraged many of us to bring our own bags to the supermarket. The charge has massively reduced the number of plastic bags being used. A 'latte levy' will do the same thing for single use cups.
“Introducing a 25p charge would encourage people to use refillable cups and flasks, reducing litter and drastically reducing the use of takeaway cups in circulation.
“Charging for single use cups is the next step in our journey towards zero waste6 and it will also help prevent climate breakdown.
"Introducing a latte levy is one of the easier things we can do to reduce our use of plastics and paper, which leads to climate-changing emissions. So let’s perk up our action on plastics, make this work for us in Wales and show once again that we can lead the way.”
Keep Wales Tidy Policy and Research Manager, Jemma Bere, said: “Awareness has been growing about the impact of single use plastics to our environment in recent years and Keep Wales Tidy believes that reduction and prevention must be at the heart of our efforts to stem the flow of litter at source.
"A latte levy could raise significant funds for Wales and could be the crucial nudge needed to remind people to bring their own cups.”
A report for the Welsh Government by independent consultancy Eunomia estimate that a 25p charge or tax on single use cups filled at the point of sale in Wales, together with a mandatory take back system in coffee shops, could reduce the numbers of these cups by around 30 percent and generate around £97m a year, which could then be used to tackle other waste problems in Wales and create jobs at the same time.
A trial conducted by Cardiff University in 2017 suggested having a small charge on these cups would be more effective than a discount in reducing their use and would lead to more reusable cups being used.
This article is based on a press release from Friends of the Earth Wales.