'Coffee is already getting so expensive' - Coffee drinkers react to new 'latte levy' on disposable cups
A new levy on disposable coffee cups is on the cards in a bid to force people to start buying reusable ones.
The charge, which would be applied in a similar fashion to the plastic bag levy, is likely to be initially set at around 10 to 15 cent per cup.
The move comes as every day approximately two million throwaway coffee cups are sent to landfill.
The Government is looking at other schemes, such as getting stores to put in place incentives for customers who bring their own cup. Talks have already taken place with major companies, including Insomnia and Supermac’s.
Environment Minister Denis Naughten said he wants to try to change consumer behaviour through financial incentives, reusable alternatives and better messaging around the environmental impact of coffee cups.
“Some of the areas that we will be looking at involve the potential for local authorities becoming part of a nationwide scheme where customers could sign up, for a small fee, in order to return their used reusable cup to participating cafés and bakeries, and get their next coffee served in another reusable cup,” Mr Naughten said.
His officials are to look “at best practice and international research” before any levy is introduced, but the minister suggested it would be “similar to the plastic bag levy”.
It is now 15 years since the plastic bag levy was introduced at a price of 15c per bag. Usage fell from an estimated 328 bags per inhabitant per year, to just 21 bags per capita, within a single year, and has continued to fall since.
Independent.ie took to the streets to see if a new levy would deter people from buying disposable cups.
Danielle Whelan said that coffee is "already getting so expensive".
"I wouldn't remember to bring my coffee cup all the time. I'd try to bring my own cup if they did increase the cost. I think the levy is stupid. Coffee is already getting so expensive," Danielle said.
"I drink one every few weeks so I'd just pay the levy," added Luke Nolan.
Coffee drinker Marta O’Brien said that it wouldn't deter her from buying coffee.
"It's crazy but we're so used to getting levies. It wouldn't stop me from having an odd coffee out. It is what it is. I wouldn't go out on the streets protesting about it.
"Most coffee shops have cups that you can re-use. I would probably start using something like that."
Mum Johanna Merenlahti said that her mornings are busy enough without having to wash out her coffee cup.
"I don't see the point of introducing a levy. It's a lovely idea but it's too much hassle in the morning to remember to wash your re-usable cup and bring it with you every morning.
"You're in a hurry, you have to take your kids to school. The last thing I want to do is to remember to wash out my cup."