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Starbucks to charge customers 5p cup levy in bid to reduce waste

Sophie Christie
The 5p 'latte levy' will be charged to anyone who doesn't bring in a reusable cup

Starbucks is to charge customers a 5p levy for paper cups across all 950 stores in Britain, in a bid to reduce single-use paper and plastic waste.

From July 26, customers who bring in a reusable cup for their coffee or other hot drink will be given the standard 25p discount, while those that ask for a paper cup will not get the discount and will be charged the 5p "latte levy".

The move comes after a successful three-month trial across selected Starbucks stores, which saw a 126pc uplift in the use of reusable cups, measured by the number of customers redeeming the reusable 25p cup discount. 

Martin Brok, president of Starbucks Europe, said the move was an "exciting step" and hoped the charge would "remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic as it has with plastic bags".

On Monday, Starbucks joined the swathe of businesses pledging to cut back on plastic by announcing it will phase out plastic straws by 2020

The final straw: Drinking through plastic is on the way out

The coffee giant said it would eliminate plastic drinking straws, and introduce lids designed not to need straws, within two years to combat the stress they put on marine life and the environment as a whole.

There has been increasing pressure on companies to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they use because of concerns over plastic pollution in the oceans where items such as straws end up harming, and often killing, wildlife such as turtles, birds and fish.

McDonald’s confirmed last month that it would stop using plastic straws across all of its UK and Ireland restaurants, replacing them with paper alternatives from September.

The fast food chain uses around 1.8 million plastic straws every day in Britain. All 1,361 restaurants will begin the roll-out of paper alternatives from September, with the process to be completed next year, it said.

Plastic straws take around 200 years to break down, but as the material cannot biodegrade, they will remain in the environment for thousands of years.