Plenty of chat on the so-called “latte levy” since the start of the year. I totally agree with the principle but I’m still trying to get my head around how it will work.
Tackling landfill can only be a good thing, and we as consumers can all do more. So too can the big players, the retailers, the coffee chains/shops, but we must all contribute to make a difference.
A 25p latte levy on disposable coffee cups is being mooted by government, with Michael Gove suggesting it’s an “exciting idea”. The problem is coffee cups are not so disposable. By the time the thin waterproof inner layer of plastic or the outer skin to protect from hot liquid is dealt with, then the disposable coffee cup becomes a problem at the point of recycling. Apparently, there are only three recycling plants in the UK that can cope with the recycling of disposable coffee cups.
It is said the UK throws away approximately 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year and only a fraction can be recycled.
I’m a bit of a coffee fiend; I work from home and I simply couldn’t be without my Nespresso machine. It wasn’t always like this but my coffee snobbery has evolved, where once it was oversized latte, I now search for a premium espresso or Americano. Those coffee hits are taken care off at home, no problem.
When I’m out I’ll have thought little about the disposable cups – until recently. One of my haunts of choice is the fantastic Railway St. Café & Brew Bar in Newcastle. Set up by Hannah and Stephen they run a great operation with influences – I believe – from their time spent in Australia.
It’s here that I first set my eyes on the “KeepCups” a genuine replacement for disposable cups and the guys will give you 20p off your coffee if you use your own KeepCup.
That’s great, and the coffee is great out of the KeepCup (I’ve tried it numerous times from the machine at home). However, the stumbling block for me is, I am hardly ever likely to be strolling about with a glass KeepCup in my possession for those impulse times when I want my next coffee when out and about.
What happens if you look for a coffee in a new outlet and they have Health and Safety at the forefront of their mind and refuse to fill your KeepCup because of potential hygiene concerns?
For me, the KeepCup is great and I continue to use it where possible. Right now, though, that is restricted to when I’m heading off in the car. I finally have a suitable method of taking my preferred coffee from home and in a secure KeepCup rather than spilling it over me in some makeshift cup from the top of a flask.
We’re on the right road with this Latte Levy and KeepCups but the practicalities still need to brew some more.
Interested in a KeepCup, get it here
The Independent: Reusable coffee cup sales surged ahead of latte levy proposal, says Argos
The Telegraph: Government will consider 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups, says Michael Gove
BBC: Latte Levy: What are businesses doing?