Sunderland's coffee culture questioned as calls for 25p cup levy sparks lively debate

Calls for a 25p "latte levy" to cut back on the amount of disposable coffee cups have been met with a mixed reaction in Sunderland.

Friday, 5th January 2018, 12:16 pm
Updated Friday, 5th January 2018, 12:30 pm

MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have suggested the new tax as a way of encouraging people to switch to reusable cups, with the revenue from the levy being used to improve recycling facilities.

The idea has been met with both positive and negative reactions in Sunderland - with some even questioning the logic of the city's coffee culture.

Reacting on our Facebook page, Angie Hammond said: "I agree with the charges. I carry my coffee cup with me in my back pack because of environmental reasons.

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"We all need to take responsibility for the impact we're having on the earth, and leave the world in a better state for future generations."

Paul David Barron said: "Take your own travel mug into the shop, any decent coffee shop will stick your coffee in it for you. No need to poison the planet for your caffeine fix."

A number of coffee chains and independent cafes now offer discounts to people with reusable cups, with Pret A Manger announcing earlier this week it was now upping its offer to 50p off for customers bringing cups.

Thomas Howe picked up on this. He said: "Go to Costa and they give you 25p off any hot drink when you bring a re-usable cup! Saves the environment and is cheaper for us the consumer. It’s a win win but I bet people still complain."

Aliceanne Smith wants to see a change further up the line. She said: "I think if you look at the price for the wholesale purchase of the consumables, the price of biodegradables is double the price of plastic. Surly this should be addressed as an incentive."

Pete Bogg added: "(Shouldn't) just (be) on cups, but all plastics and excessive packaging."

Not everyone was behind the idea, however.

Bill Luke said: "I think the UK pays enough for Coffee. The local authorities need to buy the equipment to remove the plastic from the cardboard in the cups. It’s there all they have to do is buy it."

Sandra N John Cuthbertson said: "There is a hell of a lot more pasty wrappers blowing around our streets. The council cut street cleaning bin wagons so there's alot of money saved there.

"So when the bins are over flowing and rubbish blowing everywhere, you can't keep blaming the public."

Lee Patterson said: "You can buy a complete plastic bag for 5p. Is the cup five times worse?"

Lee Patterson added: "Just a way of squeezing a bit more out of people who just want a cup of coffee on the way to their under-paid jobs."

Dave Franks said: "But what happens if you break that (reusable) plastic cup? Were will it go? Answer: in the bin, so what difference would it make?"

Some others, however, asked questions right at the heart of the modern coffee-drinking culture.

Jennifer Hudson said: "What is the fascination with walking around with a plastic cup full of coffee? Why cant people wait until they get to their destination, or a cafe, and sit and have one from a proper washable cup?"

John Thompson said: "Just like bottled water, coffee on the go was invented to create a need that was not there. Gullible people swallow the hype and spend money in an empire which makes rich people even more wealthy on the back of the average Joe (or Joan)."

Barry Marshall added: "If you can afford to pay that much for a cup of coffee, or anything else for that matter, you can pay the extra for the cup!"