Lawmakers in the United Kingdom are debating a new tax on disposable cups in an effort to cut down on waste.
While the so-called "latte levy" is controversial, the goal is to replicate the success of Britain's tax on plastic bags; their use has declined by 80 percent since the tax was introduced in 2015. Proponents of the tax say it would encourage people to carry around their own reusable cups rather than use disposable ones, which in their current form are difficult to recycle.
Simon Ellin, chief executive of The Recycling Association, tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that the law is designed to shift consumer behavior towards the cheaper, more environmentally friendly option, though he admits the proposal does have its limitations.
"Human nature says if it's going to cost you more, then you would take the cheaper option and that would be for you to bring your own mug," he says. "I'm probably as guilty as anybody when I'm catching a train or on the road, I probably would always have a [disposable] coffee cup with me." But the point of the tax, he says, is "changing the way that the general public [perceives] waste and recycling."
The British Parliament issued a report earlier this month proposing a 34-cent (25-pence) tax, which would amount to about 10 percent on every cup sold. By comparison, the British tax on plastic bags is 7 cents (5 pence) per bag.