The UK is one of Europe’s largest consumers and one in five Brits visit a coffee shop every day. And, in the UK alone, 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year - enough to stretch around the world roughly five and a half times - but less than 1 in 400 - just 0.25% - are recycled. Around 500,000 cups are littered every day–an unsightly and damaging blight on our environment. Since litter encourages more littering, this creates a vicious cycle.
According to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in Ireland, 45% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions come from the manufacture of materials associated with single-use products and their production.
So, in a bid to become the world's first country to eliminate disposable coffee cup use, the Irish government has approved The Circular Economy Bill, which aims to phase out single-use products in Ireland, including the 200 million disposable coffee cups used every year.
The bill introduces a mandatory 20c 'latte levy' for disposable coffee cup use, with a compete ban introduced for dine-in customers using disposable coffee cups. With the introduction of this bill, cafes will be asked to display a range of prices: the cost of a coffee in a reusable cup, the cost if a single-use cup is used and the cost of a dine-in beverage. Cafes and restaurants will also be encouraged to offer a discount to customers who use a keep-cup.
All money raised from the levy will be invested in environmental initiatives such as programmes to tackle litter and waste.