In 2011 it was estimated that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year, but that number is likely to be higher now.
It is not easy for consumers to recycle their takeaway coffee cups due to the mixture of paper and plastic used in their inner lining, which makes the cup heatproof and leakproof.
It is thought therefore that the vast majority of cups, more than 99.75 per cent, do not get recycled. In 2017, a study found that just one in 400 coffee cups are recycled, even if it is thrown into a recycling bin.
There has been a move towards using resuable coffee mugs, which can save consumers money as several outlets have instigated their own incentives. Pret, for example, will charge you 50p less if you bring a reusable cup.
Last year, the Government began to mull the prospect of a ‘latte levy’, a 25 tax on disposable coffee cups and in December the Environment Department announced that ministers were set to consult to expand a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans to include disposable coffee cups.