One-use cups to be hit with 25c levy as one of several new environmental charge proposals

One-use cups to be hit with 25c levy as one of several new environmental charge proposals

Disposable coffee cups will be hit with a levy of up to 25c as part of measures to tackle disposable and single-use items.

Richard Bruton, the environment minister, also plans to increase the plastic bag levy from 22c up to 25c and will expand this tax to medium-weight plastic bags, although ‘bags for life’ will remain exempt.

The proposals, which aim to shift behaviour, are due to be announced today and will now be put out to consultation.

The coffee cup levy which will be set between 10c and 25c is one of several measures due to be introduced in 2020 and 2021.

Mr Bruton said the tax would have a clear benefit for the environment as 22,000 disposable coffee and tea cups are used every hour.

“Our first response must be to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place,” he said.

“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. In introducing a coffee cup levy, clear pricing information will be vital.”

Under the measure, shops will be asked to display pricing information so that their customers have full details on the cost of coffee when the person supplies their own cup, the added charge for using a single-use cup, and the price when the customer is sitting in.

The landfill levy will also go up by €5 to €80 per tonne under the first phase of the plan.

Takeaway food containers will be targeted under a second phase of levies that would come into effect from 2022.

A third phase will address food packaging in shops and supermarkets 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 the consultation being announced today.

“How we use and dispose of our resources is crucial —in fact it accounts for 60% of our emissions. We must be more conscious of the impact we are having by the daily choices we make,” said Mr Bruton.

One-use cups to be hit with 25c levy as one of several new environmental charge proposals

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has defended comments in which he suggested that there will be some benefits to climate change.

Speaking at the launch of the first progress report on the Climate Action Plan last week, Leo Varadkar said there can be both “pluses and minuses” linked to climate change. He said warmer winters will mean it is easier for people to heat their homes, which would also result in fewer cold-weather related deaths.

Under questioning in the Dáil, Leo Varadkar described the remarks as “an observation” but again went on to highlight some positives.

“It wasn’t a policy statement or anything like that and I can see how it was open to misinterpretation by those who may be pursuing a climate-sceptic agenda, but I would like to put it into a little bit of context,” he said, again citing fewer cold-related deaths and illnesses.

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