'Latte levy' targeting coffee drinkers misguided, claims inventor of eco cup
Government plans to introduce an up to 25 cent so-called 'latte levy' are misguided and will miss the chance to incentivise retailers to use truly recyclable products, according to the Irish inventor of what is claimed to be the world's first plastic-free recyclable paper coffee cup.
Laois-based entrepreneur Tommy McLoughlin's completely recyclable Butterfly Cup is now used by major food and beverage brands in 20 countries.
He claims that Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton's proposed 25 cent price increase aimed at pushing coffee drinkers to use reusable cups will not work.
In November, Bruton said the new charge on disposable and single-use cups would be introduced from 2020. The minister said it was aimed at changing consumers' behaviour by encouraging them to use a reusable "keep cup", and that it was not "a grab for money".
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Bruton launched a public consultation into the new charge, which is expected to mirror the successful plastic bag tax.
In a submission, McLoughlin argued that manufacturers and cup suppliers should pay extra charges, rather than putting a direct charge on consumers.
"All reusable cups are not equal from an environmental impact perspective," the submission said. "Ceramic and glass cups are optimal. Many reusable cups are made from plastic or composite materials that have a significantly higher 'whole of life' environmental impact."
"Independent research shows that a reusable cup needs to be used between 20 and 100 times to justify the high environmental impact of its production, and that many people dispose of reusable cups before achieving this level of usage," it added.
"This undermines the theoretical benefit and feel-good influence that encourages the well-intentioned, but often misguided and counter-productive, purchase of reusable cups."
It argued that reusable cups made from plastic or composite materials should be subject to "an appropriate environmental supply chain levy or charge".
This would "change the purchasing practices and packaging preferences of beverage retailers and caterers, rather than relying on the voluntary behaviour of consumers to drive change", it said.
"While a graduated supply chain levy may be less 'visible' than a consumer levy, it will be significantly more effective from an environmental perspective."
Sunday Indo Business