The ‘latte levy’ – good or bad for the industry?

MPs are calling for a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups – which has been dubbed the ‘latte levy’ – and a total ban unless recycling improves. Nick Peel, managing director at Lincolnshire based Stokes Tea and Coffee, believes it is a great starting point but more still needs to be done to create real change.

The report by the Environmental Audit Committee which looked into disposable packaging, specifically coffee cups, found that the UK produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year which would be enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall.


Nick Peel Managing Director of Stokes Tea and Coffee

As consumer demand for coffee, especially on-the-go beverages, increases waste will naturally increase. We therefore need to get ahead of the issue before it gets any worse and the ‘latte levy’ is a step in the right direction.

I believe it to be a really positive movement and helping to bring awareness to the amount of waste being produced. The impact that human rubbish is having on the planet is being highlighted more and more, kickstarted largely by programmes such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, but more needs to be done to really keep the issue in the consumers mind and start to change their habits.

Here at Stokes we try to be as environmentally friendly as we can. We currently sell branded Frank Green reusable cups and offer 20p off when customers use any refillable cups in our cafes in a bid to reduce plastic waste and encourage awareness of our impact on the environment.

Our newest café was renovated and designed with our environmentally-friendly ethos in mind – furniture was upcycled and materials repurposed. One of the biggest talking points is the whale sculpture suspended from the ceiling that we affectionately named Lulu. We commissioned contemporary artist Ptolemy Elrington to create one of his renowned environmentally-inspired pieces and he used recycled coffee machine parts to reflect both our business and also how waste is affecting our oceans.

The ‘latte levy’ is a great way to get both businesses and consumers to start being more aware of the impact their buying habits have in the environment. It is a starting point for change but real transformation won’t happen until businesses of all natures look at their packaging and waste produced and reduce it. Customer incentive is important and a good initiative but change will come from businesses implementing eco-friendly changes.

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