A NEW latte levy aimed at tackling the large scale disposal of coffee cups has to be backed by a change in consumer habits, says the boss of a leading South Lakeland company that is already making a difference.

Burneside-based James Cropper PLC is one of only two facilities in the country with the capability to recycle coffee cups, with a current capacity to upcycle 500 million per year.

A group of MPs have this week called for a 25p levy to be placed on disposable coffee cups with the revenue used to pay for improved recycling facilities.

And the Government’s Environmental Audit Committee has said that all disposable coffee cups should be recycled by 2023, and should be banned if the target is not met.

Croppers has been leading the way when it comes to recycling coffee cups, partnering with waste management companies, coffee chains and restaurants to enable cup waste to be turned into high-quality papers by separating the paper and plastic components of the cups.

“Coffee cups provide a rich source of high quality material, which we’re able to upcycle into a wide range of useful products, including luxury packaging,” said Phil Wild, CEO of James Cropper.

“Seeing this go to waste on a huge scale is what led us to develop our CupCycling™ technology.”

He said that only one per cent of the 2.5 billion cups used in the UK each year were being recycled because of a ‘lack of sufficient infrastructure and consumer information.’

“In order to significantly increase these rates in line with the Environmental Audit Committee’s 2023 aspiration, it will take continued investment in nationwide recycling initiatives,” he said.

Richard Burnett, market development manager at James Cropper, added that it was not the company’s place to ‘make a judgement’ on whether the proposed levy should be introduced but also agreed that investment was required in recycling infrastructure.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said it would ‘carefully consider the committee’s recommendations’ and respond to it shortly.