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Compostable or recyclable coffee mugs won’t escape the latte levy, as the law provides for a 20-cent fee immediately

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Compostable or recyclable coffee mugs will not be spared the “latte levy” being introduced to discourage the use of single-use containers.

Inister Ossian Smyth said the levy, which will be at least 20 cents a cup, was designed to wean people off of single-use containers, regardless of what they’re made of, and switch to reusable storage cups instead.

He said biodegradable, compostable, or fully recyclable materials don’t solve the embedded carbon, waste, and pollution problems associated with single-use cups.

Studies showed fewer than 5 single-use cups were recycled or composted, he said. Lid recycling was virtually zero.

“We have 200 million cups that either end up in landfill or are incinerated every year. Of course that’s crazy.

“Generally, people use a takeaway cup and then throw it in a bin where it gets mixed up with other things.

“The likelihood of it being composted or recycled is very small, even if it’s a recyclable product.”

Mr Smyth said cafes could switch from using plastic cups or plastic-lined cups to fully biodegradable cups, which could be counterproductive as people thought they were doing the right thing while perpetuating problems.

“The aim of the levy is to change behavior and prevent the continuous and unnecessary consumption of resources required to manufacture and dispose of a single-use item,” he said.

“Whether or not this item is made of paper or plastic or some other material, the fact is that it is used once and goes through this entire production process for a few minutes of use.

“Biodegradable cups are better than plastic in purely material terms, but they do not achieve the goal of avoiding garbage and waste or minimizing resource consumption.

“In fact, it can be counterproductive because the consumer then believes they are making an environmentally conscious choice and then doesn’t change their behavior.”

The levy will be introduced as part of the new Circular Economy and Waste Management Bill that the minister discussed with the TDs in the Special Committee on the Environment and Climate Change.

There will be a public hearing period, but the bill is expected to come into force before the end of the year and the levy to be collected soon after.

All the money raised will go to environmental projects, but Mr Smyth said the intention was to follow up the levy with a total ban on single-use cups.

“The idea is to change behavior. If the donation is successful, we don’t collect any money because people don’t use single-use cups.”

The levy is expected to start at 20 cents per cup, but the bill is worded allowing for charges of up to €1.

The bill also paves the way for the use of CCTV, drones and bodycams to catch people littering and dumping.

Mr Smyth said he has been working with the Attorney General and the Privacy Commissioner on wording that tightly controls access to recordings and ensures footage is only used for the purposes of the legislation.

https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/compostable-or-recyclable-coffee-cups-wont-escape-latte-levy-as-law-to-impose-20-cent-charge-imminent-41611455.html Compostable or recyclable coffee mugs won’t escape the latte levy, as the law provides for a 20-cent fee immediately

Fry Electronics Team

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