| Ireland

Ireland to introduce ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups by 2021

Irish government announces proposed levy of up to 0.25 euros per cup in bid to reduce single-use waste

A 2018 report by the Irish government found the country’s 4.9 million people throw away 200 million single use coffee cups every year

The disposable cup levy is designed to change consumer habits and limit the environmental impact of single-use utensils. In 2018 an Irish government report found the country’s 4.9 million people threw away 200 million single use coffee cups every year.

“This is about getting people to change the habit of a lifetime. This is low hanging fruit, in my view, in terms of better sustainability,” Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton told broadcasters.

In a blow to a nascent recyclable coffee cup industry, the proposals will also hit receptacles made from biodegradable materials. This is due to a lack of infrastructure and consumer awareness on industrial composting, the government said.

In June 2018, Ireland’s second largest coffee chain, Insomnia, launched 100% compostable disposable cups across its 150-store portfolio in Ireland and the UK in a bid to divert 15 million takeaway coffee cups from landfill by 2020.

A UK latte levy was mooted during 2018 but subsequently watered down by the government in favour of voluntary initiatives. UK and Ireland market leader, Costa Coffee, is aiming to recycle 500 million takeaway cups by 2020 via a scheme with sustainability compliance service, Valpak. The UK’s second largest coffee chain, Starbucks, rolled out a mandatory 5p charge on all disposable cups in Britain in mid-2018.

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