We are all trying to change our ways, most of us our trying to remember the reusable plastic bags for shopping, segregated rubbish, reusable bottles, an endless list to add on to our daily lives. Now even a coffee cup is a big deal but it's true.
Your one coffee cup does matter
Everything one person does matters. Everyone knows plastic is bad. It is literally not going away. That take away coffee you had last week is gone but that disposable cup that you used is still around and will be here for years to come. Even the hot chocolate you had at the Christmas Market last year, sadly chances are that cup was never recycled and is in a landfill, the reality is that the UK has only 3 facilities that can recycle a standard single-use coffee cup. Those 3 facilities are recycling 4% of the 2.5 billion single-use plastics we use in the UK per year. So until either these facilities expand or we the consumer change we are just creating more waste than we can ever fix.
Incentives and education are growing and we hear more about it every day. We no longer have an excuse as to why we don’t use our own reusable cup, brands such as Pret-a-manger, Starbucks and costa are amongst some of the brands creating incentives for you to bring you our cup. Even your local coffee shop and markets are doing something. Yet so many times we still do not bring a reusable cup, is it just a habit that people need to get into or do we need more encouragement than what everyone is already giving us?
Latte tax in the UK
The UK government has even created a latte tax, to add on an additional 25p per sale to compensate for the signal use cup with a plan to ban all plastics by 2023 if recycling of these polyethylene-lined cups does increase. That means more responsibility for us average day consumer, another tax or is it the responsibility of the government and businesses to make these decisions for our everyday life.
How can we solve the problem of polyethylene-lined cups?
Of course we have experienced this before with single-use plastic bags being taxed, charged independently then the eventual ban introduced. At first it seemed drastic and annoying but eventually, it became habit and easy. The UK is now going to try and tackle all single-use plastics such as straws and plastic drink, so we can assume all the same steps will happen until it is mandatory on all single-use plastics.
Surely it makes sense that we just buy one recyclable reusable cup, carry it with us and reap the rewards of doing so with their incentives. The addition of government initiatives and businesses being responsible for their own services will only further the waste reduction in a successful way but how many years will it take?