Fancy a cuppa?

If you have been following along on the @RubbishWalksCPM
Twitter feed recently, you’ll notice that I’ve been posting photos of Metro
articles dealing with waste.  I find it
great that the subject is getting some attention, and it helps keep me awake on
the early morning commute!

The main issue that caught my eye last week was that Hugh
Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste campaign
was turning the spotlight on
disposable coffee cups.  Billions end up
in landfills, and they are certainly an item that is commonly
found as litter.  One solution I’ve seen
recently is coffee cups embedded with flower seeds; while I like the idea in
theory, I do wonder if it would actually have the knock on effect of
encouraging people to litter more.

Something else that has flashed across the news is the
threat of a “coffee cup tax”, following the recently announced tax on sugary
drinks and last year’s introduction of a plastic bag fee.  As I wrote regarding the latter, simply using
the word “tax” is almost a guarantee that you will have problems with getting
buy in from the public.  To me, this
feels like a knee jerk reaction, and top-down approaches like this have the
very real potential of backfiring by creating a negative aura around the
subject, in this case, waste reduction. However,
the inverse of this, encouraging the re-use of cups by offering a discount, has
the potential to actually encourage behaviourial change.  This is exactly what Starbucks has announced
they are doing on a trial basis, with 50p off if a cup is re-used.  This seems far more likely to foster positive
changes.

Now this may all be a moot point as I saw an article over the weekend that said there were no plans in place for such a cup charge.  Yet a dialogue has been started and I raise
my own mug of tea in the hopes that ALL disposable cups will be re-thought so that sights like this become a thing of the past.

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