A cross party committee of MPs is calling for a 25p tax on single use coffee cups, and wants them to be banned if an effective way of recycling them cannot be established.

A report on disposable coffee cups by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee said 2.5 billion were used in the UK every year, with only 0.25% being recycled, and producing 30,000 tonnes of waste annually.

It recommended that a 25p tax should be applied to single use cups to encourage consumers to use alternatives.

In the report’s conclusions it said: “To ensure that disposable coffee cups and other types of paper food packaging are captured and recycled, the revenue from the 25p coffee cup charge should be used to support local councils to provide food packaging recycling bins and waste management. Disposable food packaging collected in these bins could be recycled in a similar way to the initiatives shown through in-store recycling schemes. A proportion of the revenue could also be used to support a wide-reaching public communications campaign that would provide easily digestible information on best-practice recycling while on-the-go, therefore reducing litter and improving recycling of all types of food packaging waste.”

It added: “We recommend that the Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups disposed of in recycling bins should be recycled by 2023. If an effective recycling system is not established and achieves high levels of recycling by this date, the Government should ban disposable coffee cups. There is no excuse for the ongoing reluctance from Government and industry to address coffee cup waste. Disposable coffee cups are an avoidable waste problem and if the UK cannot be confident of their future sustainability, the Government should ban them.”