Coffee chains under growing pressure to reveal true extent of plastic pollution
The UK throws away 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year, with just one in 400 estimated to be recycled. The majority of those are sold by high street coffee chains, yet taxpayers foot the bill for processing 90 per cent of packaging waste. Coffee cups are particularly hard to recycle because they contain a paper exterior with a plastic lining to keep the cup sealed. As a result, almost all of them are incinerated, exported or sent to landfill.
Some shops give money off the price of a hot drink for customers who use reusable cups, but the committee said uptake of these offers was low at only 1 per cent to 2 per cent of coffee purchases.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and environmental campaigner, said the UK was in the midst of a “coffee cup nightmare”. He said: “It’s time to send these hugely profitable companies a clear message: stop making badly designed products and expecting the taxpayer to clean up after you.”