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'Latte levy' could cost manufacturing and coffee industries 11,000 jobs

A “latte levy” of 25p on disposable coffee cups, being proposed by MPs, would cost up to 11,000 jobs in the UK, according to a study commissioned by manufacturers.
The charge – suggested earlier this year by the Environmental Audit Committee – is aimed at improving the environment by incentivising people to bring their own cups to coffee shops.
However, research by the Paper Cup Alliance claims the levy would likely do more harm than good, with studies having found only 6pc of consumers would switch to reusable cups and 8pc would be put off buying a drink.
The group – which represents manufacturers in the UK making paper cups, which between them employ 1,700 people – claims if the levy were brought in then hundreds of manufacturing jobs would be lost, along with many more in the wider “coffee economy” which has more than 100,000 staff.
Rather than introduce the levy, the alliance wants to encourage recycling of some 85pc of paper cups, saying that all paper cups made in Britain are 100pc recyclable and made from sustainable sources of wood.
'Latte levy' could cost manufacturing and coffee industries 11,000 jobs

Paper cups represent only 0.7pc of paper packaging waste and the industry wants to see an 85pc recycling target

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myLoupe/Getty
To achieve this target, the alliance – which includes Benders, Schisler, Dart and Stora Enso – says more specialised recycling points linked to recycling plants that can handle cups need to be installed in public places.
It is also calling for a campaign to raise consumer awareness about how the cups are recycled. Because of their plastic linings, they have to go to dedicated plants, meaning that cups thrown into recycling bins on high streets or at rail stations often end up in landfill. 
Currently paper cups represent only 0.7pc of total paper packaging waste and the typical person purchases 156 hot drinks per year on average.
“This research should come as a sharp wake-up call to those calling for a latte levy,” said Mike Turner, a spokesman for the alliance.
“More can and should be done to increase paper cup recycling rates, but this needs to be balanced against the devastating impact that a 25p tax could have for thousands of people working in the cup manufacturing industry and the wider supply chain.”
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