Industry reacts to proposed coffee cup levy

Fully compostable cups are the target of the Nestle-backed NextGen Challenge
Fully compostable cups are the target of the Nestle-backed NextGen Challenge

A new levy on disposable coffee cups, akin to the plastic bag levy, is set to be introduced in Ireland, in a bid to curb the rampant use of such cups by Irish consumers.



7 November 2017

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Ireland is certainly a nation of coffee drinkers in the modern era; so much so that the issue of disposable coffee cups is turning into a bit of a problem. Research suggests that up to two million takeaway cups are sent to landfill every day.

A move to curb this excessive usage may be on the way. A new levy on disposable coffee cups is set to be introduced, whereby consumers will pay around 10c or 15c per cup extra; similar to the plastic bag levy, the aim is to encourage people to own and reuse their own cups. So they may become known as “portable” rather than “disposable”.

Incentives to convince customers to get involved may also be introduced. The Irish Indepdendent reports the Government is consulting with major retailers on the issue, such as Insomnia and Supermac’s.

Some stores are preempting the government levy by taking their own steps to incentivise customers and reduce waste. Earlier this year, Esquire’s, a Dublin coffee chain of 11 stores, introduced a scheme where customers who purchased its branded re-usable thermo-mugs would receive a discount when they present the mug at the counter for their coffee. “We did this with the intention of helping our customers see the benefit of cutting down on using one-off cups that end up more often than not in landfill and polluting our environment,” said franchise director Tony McVerry. “I am glad to say the scheme has been very successful, with a significant take-up by our customers.”

Meanwhile, when it opened earlier this year, Container Coffee on Dublin’s Thomas Street took the decision to vend its coffee in biodegradable cups. They come at a higher cost price but are vastly more beneficial to the environment. Founder Gordon Hickey told the Independent that he aims for his business to eventually be completely plastic free.

We Irish are known to be highly adaptable and open to changes such as those now proposed by the coffee cup levy. Are we prepared for more price increases though? Time will tell.




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