Last week we heard news that a committee of MPs want the government to implement a 'latte levy', and charge consumers an extra 25p for using disposable coffee cups that are a pain to recycle. Now Starbucks has announced that it will be doing something similar in 20-25 of its London branches.
The move is a three month trial that forms part of Starbucks' new eco-friendly plan, and is designed to encourage customers to bring their own disposable cups. At the moment the disposable cups used in many coffee chains are a mix of paper and plastic, and according to the parliamentary report last week there are only three plants capable of recycling them in the UK.
Over the last couple of years Starbucks has started selling disposable cups, priced between 50p and £1. It also offered a discount to customers that brought their own cup, originally 10p then upped to 25p. This move was designed to have a similar effect, and encourage people to think with their wallets. According to Starbucks, however, it didn't "move the needle in the way [it] thought it might," which is why the new plan is coming into play.
Starbucks has promised that the existing 25p discount won't be going anywhere, and that staff will be offering a ceramic cup before a disposable one. Obviously you can't take a ceramic cup to work with you, so that's only going to benefit a small number of people. Proceeds from the extra charge will reportedly go to Hubbub, a charity that works on pro-environment campaigns designed to inspire greener lifestyles that save people money in the process.
Details on which branches will be affected are scarce at the moment, but the trial is set to begin next month. Needless to say if it's effective, and helps cut down the amount of waste cups, then don't be surprised if it spreads to Starbucks across the country and beyond. Now if only coffee shops could figure out a way of offering disposable cups that weren't so hard to recycle, that'd be great. [Starbucks via The Times]