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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.”

The Liberal Democrats said they had been campaigning for a charge on coffee cups since September 2016 and were the only party to include the policy in their 2017 election manifesto.

The party’s environment spokesman, Tim Farron, said: “I’m glad our call for a coffee cup charge is gaining traction.

“The evidence is clear that these levies work – the 5p charge on plastic bags has massively reduced usage and helped protect our environment.”

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