Tax On Disposable Coffee Cups Could Be Way Of The Future

It’s not as widespread as it needs to be, but the business world is starting to show some accountability where the environment is concerned.

After eating out at a family restaurant a couple of weeks ago, my leftovers were packaged in a much more environmentally-friendly way than I’m used to. Instead of a styrofoam box, the food was placed in a microwave and dishwasher safe Tupperware container made from 100% recycled materials.  

And at the end of November, my family and I visited Jamaica and stayed at a resort that had completely banned plastic straws. What an excellent idea, considering most of them end up floating in the ocean, anyway.

The funny thing is, despite the straw ban, single-use plastic cups are used on the regular at the hotel, which in my opinion, is quite the contradiction.

Straws aren’t the only environmental enemy. And while banning them is something that needs to happen, it’s time we look at other culprits too.  

Coffee Cup Tax

Some coffee shops in Montreal, Canada are considering charging customers 25 cents for the disposable cups from which they’re sipping their lattes. It turns out those leakproof cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic, so they’re not recyclable or compostable.

Think about it: The average single-use coffee cup has a lifespan of about 12 minutes before being thrown into the garbage. In Montreal, it’s estimated 4 million of them end up landfills every week.

A report by CTV Montreal says the hope is to encourage people to start bringing their reusable mugs to their favorite cafes, which would drastically cut down on waste.

So far, only the smaller, independent shops are involved in the discussions. The hope is to convince bigger companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Tim Horton’s to join the club too.

And of course, nothing is set in stone. The discussions have only just begun.

Montreal Not Alone

In Vancouver, Canada, a new law coming into effect in June 2019 will see all plastic straws, disposable cups, and styrofoam containers outright banned.

In the UK, Starbucks was the first chain to start taxing customers 5 pence for every disposable cup they use (the government wants to increase the tax to 25 pence). And customers who bring their reusable mugs get an automatic 25 pence discount on their hot beverage.

There’s the Freiburg Cup in Germany, which is a standard coffee cup that can be used 400 times before being recycled. Customers can get one from their favorite cafe for a small, refundable deposit.

And while nothing beats a cup made with 100% recycled materials, any reusable mug is a smart solution to cleaning up our mess. David’s Tea sells this ceramic beauty as a replacement to its take away cups. There are KeepCups for those who want to be more stylish, and for those who don’t care about that, standard travel mugs. There are even reusable coffee cup sleeves available out there!

The options and possibilities are endless. Every choice we make has an impact on the environment. And any small step we take towards reducing our carbon footprint is a good one.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.