Takeaway Coffee Cups. Should they be taxed?

Morning Glory

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Coffee-addicted Britain is leaving a mountain of toxic waste for the next generation as scientists warn it could take decades for paper cups from Starbucks, Pret a Manger and other chains to decompose.

The environmental cost of the coffee-to-go culture has been highlighted amid growing concerns that much of the public wrongly believe the cups are recycled, when in fact they are dumped in the green bin in the office or the recycling bin on the street.

While the paper can be recycled, the problem arises because recycling plants do not have the facility to remove the plastic lining which makes the cups impermeable.

Chris Cheeseman, a professor of materials resources engineering at Imperial College London, says the polyethylene is resistant to degradation and could take around 30 years to break down. “Even then we don’t know for sure, because nobody has looked at the cup specifically,” added Cheeseman.

Even if there were no plastic lining, the cup could take at least two years to start breaking down because of the high quality paper. “In terms of environmental impact the cellulose fibre is potentially more of an issue than the plastic,” he said.

“This could take 18 months to two years to start to break down and then it produces methane gas which is probably not collected.”

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...y-cups-could-each-take-30-years-to-break-down
 

Duck59

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I think the concept is reasonable enough, with the caveat that as long as the likes of Fastbuck's don't turn it into a way of making even more profit. I'm not sure how successful it would be. After two years of the carrier bag charge in Scotland, we still seem to be drowning under the weight of bags. Taking my local Co-op as an example, I see very few people using their own bags and it's been quite common for shop staff to say to me, "Oh, you've got your own bag. There aren't many that do that."

Remarkably, I once heard a woman with a loud and braying voice declare that she refused to take bags to the shops in case the assistants thought she was too poor to afford one. Dear, oh dear.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Ireland introduced the bags charge over 2 decades ago. It took a while longer but it had worked really well. Give it a chance. We, like you, always take our own hands (from www.onyabags.co.uk) they last really well. One (called Kate after her logo on it from a Kate Rusby concert) is 7-8 yrs old and is either made from recycled parachute material or plastic drinks bottles.
 

classic33

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Ireland introduced the bags charge over 2 decades ago. It took a while longer but it had worked really well. Give it a chance. We, like you, always take our own hands (from www.onyabags.co.uk) they last really well. One (called Kate after her logo on it from a Kate Rusby concert) is 7-8 yrs old and is either made from recycled parachute material or plastic drinks bottles.
Two decades ago!
 

Berties

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Recycling on the move still seems to be a effort,logistically ,will a tax work?or the price goes up ,we pay it ,and the hedge rows still get dotted with the paper cups,along with macdonalds wrappers,raises money for the tax man and that's about it,
 

classic33

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OK, thinking about this at not 3am in the morning, it could have been the year 2000 which makes it 16 years ago... not quite 2 decades ago.
"The Republic of Ireland introduced a €0.15 tax in March 2002. Levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90% of consumers using long-life bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007. The revenue is put into an Environment Fund."
http://www.bigfatbags.co.uk/bans-taxes-charges-plastic-bags/

Aware that some shops were charging for them before this, but this was profit.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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"The Republic of Ireland introduced a €0.15 tax in March 2002. Levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90% of consumers using long-life bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007. The revenue is put into an Environment Fund."
http://www.bigfatbags.co.uk/bans-taxes-charges-plastic-bags/

Aware that some shops were charging for them before this, but this was profit.
OK - I was visiting the country at the time, and remembering the exact date it came in is half... perhaps 1.5 decades ago is a better option?
 

classic33

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OK - I was visiting the country at the time, and remembering the exact date it came in is half... perhaps 1.5 decades ago is a better option?
It goes back to what's already been said about making a profit on it, by charging, though.
 

classic33

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To give an indication of the problem. Again this is bags, wholesale price, no paper bags allowed and that was for one small shop for one month.
Bags.jpg
 
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SatNavSaysStraightOn

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To give an indication of the problem. Again this is bags, wholesale price, no paper bags allowed and that was for one small shop for one month.
Ireland or UK. Here in Australia paper bags are normal and people are always asked if they need a bag, with the assumption they don't.
 

classic33

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I am wondering where that tax went to. OK buying the life long bag you have to pay for, but I don't mind that and some shops give them away free if you sign up for their free membership cards.
When it became the law, it wasn't just shops that got hit. Everywhere did. You could no longer dump plastic in your household waste. Caught you were fined. The money raised is supposed to have gone on recycling all plastics.
 

Dive Bar Casanova

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Compostable containers are picking up steam here in the Southwest. Boxed water for one. They leak and need a bit more engineering so that set back sales for a spell. I still by them when available. Some are compostable. The brand we buy containers dissolve in mother earth.
One bakery uses wrappers made out of cornstarch. That dissolves in your garden too. Not real sturdy, but it works and it's getting better.

We use paper cups when camping. The campfire is our dishwasher.
 

caseydog

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Compostable containers are picking up steam here in the Southwest. Boxed water for one. They leak and need a bit more engineering so that set back sales for a spell. I still by them when available. Some are compostable. The brand we buy containers dissolve in mother earth.
One bakery uses wrappers made out of cornstarch. That dissolves in your garden too. Not real sturdy, but it works and it's getting better.

We use paper cups when camping. The campfire is our dishwasher.

California also has a bag charge at grocery stores, doesn't it? When I am out there on business, I obviously don't have my own cloth bags with me, so I end up paying for bags -- I prefer paper. At home, I have some nice, insulated grocery bags from IKEA. They have a zippered top, too.

I like the idea of biodegradable cups and packaging. Some companies are already using the biodegradable packaging, which is easy for dry goods.

I would think biodegradable cups for coffee and soft drinks would work, as they only need to last until the drink is gone.

CD
 
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