Latte Levy: Starbucks’ Five Pence Coffee Cup Charge Starts Today

World | Sustainable Development

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

People buying a hot drink in one of Starbuck’s 35 London stores from today will have to pay an extra five pence for a takeaway cup, under a new trial designed to cut waste and encourage more shoppers to bring in reusable cups.

As BusinessGreen reported last month, the coffee giant has teamed up with waste charity Hubbub to assess how a five pence per cup charge could impact consumer behaviour when buying a takeaway hot drink.

The trial starts today, with the proceeds from the charge earmarked for use by Hubbub to run a comprehensive study into behaviour change, including research into how best to encourage consumers to adopt reusable cups.

Every year, the UK throws away around 2.5 billion coffee cups, only a tiny fraction of which are recycled.

Research suggests charging shoppers for a disposable cup could be more effective at driving behaviour change than awarding a discount to those who bring their own mug.

The charge is the latest in a series of moves from the coffee chain sector, including separate moves to offer customers discounts for bringing in reusable cups and provide cup recycling collection points.

It also comes as the government is considering a raft of measures to crackdown on plastic waste, including proposals for a new ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups and new taxes on plastic packaging.