Latte Levy on its own ‘not incentive enough’ to tackle single-use cups

While most people support the banning of single-use cups for the hot drinks they buy, a fifth don’t think they will change their behaviour if the Government stops at only introducing a levy on the cups.

The 15c levy on disposable cups is being considered by the Government in a bid to incentivise people to use reusable cups instead. However, a detailed survey on public attitudes to the ‘Latte Levy’ concludes that four times more waste would be prevented from going to landfill if the levy was accompanied by other measures such as discounts for using reusable mugs, being given a free reusable cup or a refund for returning a plastic cup.

The survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Amárach Research and Carr Communications found that while 60% supported the Latte Levy, only 19% said they believe it would bring about a change in their own behaviour.

Meanwhile, three-quarters rated other measures such as discounts for using reusable mugs, as being more effective at incentivising them to use less plastic cups.

Overall, the research found that on average adults here drink four bought hot drinks per week, amounting to two million plastic cup-loads sold every day. The cups, which could attract the levy, have a plastic film lining which makes them non-recyclable.

The study suggested that if the Latte Levy were introduced on its own, consumers would use 68,000 less plastic cups every day. However, if it was implemented along with the other measures, 250,000 disposable cups would be prevented from going to landfill every day.

While there is little difference in purchasing habits between genders, there is a clear decrease in consumption with age with almost six in 10 of those aged 16-24 purchasing a beverage at least once a week, while fewer than three in 10 of those over the age of 55 do so.

The younger age groups are also the most driven by environmental concerns — those aged 16-24 and 25-34 are more likely to consider the 15c levy to be too little or just right, compared to the total, while older age groups are more likely to consider the levy to be too much, compared to the total.

Overall, on the levy amount, 45% of respondents said it is the right amount, 42% feel it is too much, while 13% say it should be higher.


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