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Starbucks has become the first coffee chain in the UK to start charging for customers to use takeaway coffee cups.
The ‘latte levy’ will mean a 5p charge on disposable coffee cups, under a plan which aims to make a dent in the 2.5 billion coffee cups that are thrown away every year. The charge is being trialled for three months at 35 stores across London.
Proceeds are going to the charity Hubbub, which works towards behaviour and environmental change. They will track customer behaviour during the trial, and use the profits to fund further research.
Baristas at the chain will be offering customers the choice of buying a reusable ceramic cut, to cut waste even further.
The normal coffee cups can’t be recycled by normal systems because the cardboard they’re made from have a plastic liner that’s tricky to remove. Just one cup in 400 are recycled, a mere 0.25% of what is used. Half a million cups are dropped by customers as litter ever day in the UK.
Hubbub co-founder Gavin Ellis said: ‘Previous studies have shown that adding a charge on single-use cups is more effective than money off with a reusable cup. We’re excited to be working on this initiative with Starbucks to find out if this is the case on the high street and to discover what else will encourage people to use reusable cups.’
Simon Redfern, vice president of communications at Starbucks Europe, said: ‘We’re hoping that this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic-lined cups, as it has with plastic bags.
‘We’ve offered a reusable cup discount for 20 years, with only 1.8% of customers currently taking up this offer, so we’re really interested in working with Hubbub to see how this charge could help to change behaviour and help to reduce waste.’