‘Latte levy‘ will halt dumping of 500,000 cups a day, says Government

Opponents of 20 cent charge on disposable cups fear it will hit jobs

The Government’s proposed 20 cent tax on disposable coffee cups aims to deter consumers from dumping half a million of them every day, the Department of Environment says in defence of the measure.

Cafes and cup suppliers say the so-called latte levy could hit sales and cost the industry more than 4,200 jobs, but fail to deal with the waste problem.

According to a spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, more than half a million disposable coffee cups a day end up in the Republic’s landfills or incinerators.

The latte levy: ‘Consumers want to do the right thing’

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Will Government’s plan for a 20c tax on disposable coffee cups have the desired effect or could it end up hurting businesses? On this week’s episode of Inside Business, co-owner of Olive’s Room restaurant and co-founder of Vytal Ireland, Michelle Moloughney, gives Cliff Taylor her thoughts on the divisive levy. And Irish Times business and technology journalist Ciara O’Brien on why she has been writing about Irish tech firm Intercom.

“This is an entirely avoidable waste,” said the spokesman, who added that Government was introducing the levy to incentivise people to opt for reusable cups.


He pointed out that coffee cups are “typically” made of composite materials that are difficult to recycle, while Environmental Protection Agency surveys have found them in waste, recycling and compost bins, indicating that consumers have problems disposing of them.

Opponents of the levy plan argue that most outlets already provide fully recyclable or compostable cups, and warn that promoting reusable cups will just add to plastic waste.

However, Stephen McKenna, of cafe Bread 41, in Dublin said coffee sales grew 8 per cent since the business switched to reusable-only cups in February this year.

He says the business has saved more than €6,000 so far this year by buying reusable compostable cups.

A group in Killarney meanwhile plans to axe disposable cups from this month in a bid to cut waste at the area’s national park, one of the Republic’s top tourist attractions.

Customers at 25 cafes and 21 hotels can pay a €2 deposit on a reusable cup, repayable on return to any of the 46 outlets, or more than 350 around the State.

Voluntary clean-ups in Killarney found that coffee cups were one of the most common forms of waste found in the national park.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas