Thursday 14 November 2019

'Latte levy' will start in 2021 but pricing unclear

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Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A 'latte levy' on disposable cups is to be introduced by the end of 2021.

Ministers have finally agreed the tax but want public input on the charge per coffee cup.

On the foot of market research, the price is likely to be set at between 10c and 25c.

The move will be followed at a later date with a tax on takeaway food containers.

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton also got sign-off for a number of other environmental levies aimed at encouraging more sustainable consumer behaviour.

The proposed first phase of levies is as follows:

  • An increase to the existing plastic bag levy from the current rate of 22c to 25c;
  • Expanding the plastic bag levy to include medium-­weight plastic bags (true 'bags for life' will remain exempt);
  • A waste recovery levy at €5 a tonne. This would apply to the three key waste recovery options - landfill, incineration and export;
  • And an increase to the landfill levy by €5 per tonne to €80 per tonne.

Mr Bruton said the introduction of a 'latte levy' had clear benefits for the environment "when you consider that 22,000 disposable coffee and tea cups are used every hour".

"The coffee cup levy should also lead to savings for consumers who make the switch, as well as savings for retailers who have to carry less disposable stock," he said.

"In introducing a coffee-cup levy, clear pricing information will be vital. Clear information regarding price will be important in driving change."

The Government will call on shops to display information on the price of coffee in a disposable cup versus when the consumer brings their own reusable container.

It is also proposed to develop a second phase of levies, to come into effect from 2022 onwards. These will focus on takeaway food containers, and a third phase which will address food packaging in retail outlets including for bakery items, fruit and vegetables.

The exact scope and rate of such levies is to be developed but these items will also be included in a public consultation process which will be announced today.

All revenue raised from the measures will go into the Environment Fund and reinvested in environmental action.

"Climate disruption is the biggest challenge facing this generation. A tonne of food wasted or single-use packaging tipped into a landfill results in the six tonnes of carbon which it took to make that food or packaging, completely lost to the world," said Mr Bruton.

Irish Independent

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