Is it time to extend the carrier bag charge to coffee cups?

Is it time to start charging for coffee cups? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Is it time to start charging for coffee cups? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We're now used to paying extra for carrier bags - so should the same rules apply to coffee cups?

That's the suggestion of a study conducted by academics at Cardiff University, which found that charging coffee drinkers for their disposable cups could cut their use by up to 300 million a year in the UK.

We headed to the streets of Norwich to find out what the coffee drinkers and independent coffee sellers in the city thought about the possibility of a levy being put on cups.

L-R Giuliano Rossi and Arianna Fiorentini Picture: James Carr

L-R Giuliano Rossi and Arianna Fiorentini Picture: James Carr - Credit: Archant

Brian Wells, owner of Carello's Coffee Van said: 'It is something I have been discussing with my regulars. I already encourage a lot of my customers to bring their own cups and flasks. I will knock 30p off a flat white, so it will go from £1.80 to £1.50.

'To be honest I don't think it would affect anything, I can't see it happening.'

Peter Sheldon Picture: James Carr

Peter Sheldon Picture: James Carr - Credit: Archant


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Britain's coffee habit produces an estimated 25,000 tonnes of waste as we go through 2.5 billion disposable cups a year, the report fund. But that could be reduced considerably if people were charged extra for a cup.

Professor Wouter Poortinga, who authored the report, said: 'The use of reusable coffee cups could be increased by up to 12.5% with a combination of measures.'

Susan Hill Picture: James Carr

Susan Hill Picture: James Carr - Credit: Archant

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A test in Wales found that a 25p charge on disposable cups led to an increased use of reusable cups, but a discount on reusable cups alone had no impact on their usage.

Fellow Norwich coffee van owner, Giuliano Rossi, 28, of G's Coffee Spot also saw potential problems with the proposal, saying: 'If I was a customer I wouldn't want to have to walk around with a flask.

'25p is excessive. I think a 10p charge would be acceptable. That's how much it costs me for a cup and a lid.'

Coffee drinker Susan Hill, 53, from Acle, said: 'It's a good idea to help the environmental and landfill issues.'

Buckingham Road resident David Washer, 43, believed a 25p increase would put him off buying a take-away coffee

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