As members of the coffee retail community, we’re calling on coffee giants to bring in recyclable cups

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Thursday 12 April 2018 17:29
Do coffee shops offer ceramic cups by default rather than plastic cups? Our 'Cut the cup waste' campaign investigates

The UK discards more than 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year. Almost none are recycled because their plastic lining means most recycling plants can’t accept them.

Instead, the plastic breaks down into tiny pieces and often ends up in our oceans and waterways, killing fish and damaging delicate ecosystems. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

As members of the coffee retail community, we want to tackle this crisis. Until the major players in our market invest in more sustainable solutions, there will be little systemic change. Major coffee chains like Starbucks earn billions in revenue each year. They must all invest some of that money in developing a recyclable cup and a plan to reduce disposable cup use – this will provide a template for others to follow.

Ten years ago, Starbucks promised the world a recyclable cup by 2015, but that deadline passed without any real progress. In March this year, Starbucks doubled-down on its promise for a sustainable cup solution, this time with a “three-year ambition” and a $10m (£7bn) investment. We urgently need Starbucks to change words into swift and meaningful action – and for all other major coffee retailers to join the effort.

At the same time, the UK government needs to create the conditions for change. It has opened a consultation on introducing a ‘latte levy’ – a 25p tax on all takeaway coffee cups – but has yet to act. With disposable coffee cup use set to increase by one third by 2030, there is no time to lose.

We pledge support for consumer watchdog SumOfUs and more than 363,000 people who have signed the petition calling on Starbucks to clean up their act.

The coffee giants must take action immediately by:

* Making greater, public efforts to support and encourage customers to bring their own reusable cup

* Making good on promises to bring in fully recyclable paper cups

It’s time to pull together to save the planet from the consequences our plastic addiction.

Timberyard Seven Dials, Chief Coffee, Stir, Kaffeine, Flotsam and Jetsam, Buhler and Co, Coffee Island, Look Mum No Hands, Workshop

Free bus passes for under-25s a hit

This new Labour Party policy is a great idea. When I board a bus with my free pass I feel sorry for the younger travellers who may very likely have less means to pay than I. Employment is often less secure and generally lower paid than that which was available to my generation, and there are increasingly greater distances between good jobs and affordable housing. (Note the increasing use of rail services despite soaring prices and declining quality of service).

Economy and society needs to be reoriented towards lesser inequality. Allying that objective with greater sustainability of travel and decreasing urban pollution, Labour demonstrates again how a costed economically viable policy fits into an overall approach head and shoulders above the exhausted obsolete philosophy of the Tory party.

Paul Leach

Corbyn’s plan to give free bus travel to under-25s is to be warmly welcomed. The proposal points the way to additional linked possibilities and refinements.

Why not free bus and train travel within the UK for those under 25 and over 65 who do not have a driving licence? This would reduce the number of high-risk young drivers, postponing their driving debut until they are a little wiser, and reduce the number of older drivers whose faculties will inevitably be declining.

Steve Ford
Haydon Bridge

Britain shouldn’t go hastily to war

When will this country recognise that it is no longer a “great power”? The present government act like this country has the same imperial power as in the 19th century.

The reality is that Britain is a small isolated country in the north of Europe, seemingly intent on isolating itself ever further from our European neighbours. It is a country still caught up in a post-imperial identity crisis. Why else would Britain continue to seek to militarily intervene in other people’s countries?

Paul Donovan
London E11

Surely no military intervention in Syria can be justified without concrete evidence of the alleged chemical weapons attack. The public have been sold a lie before, regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that never existed, resulting in a catastrophic conflict which still resonates globally today.

As intelligent beings, we have the choice not to make the same error. If these attacks are 100 per cent proven to have been carried out by Assad’s forces, then military intervention becomes a justifiable option.

At the moment there is no proof of this.

The West’s agenda of destabilisation in Syria in an effort to force regime change is well known by any informed person, as are the reasons behind this desire. Politics has never been a clean business, unfortunately, but let’s not start another war without a real reason to do so.

Phil Gibbs

If we start trading with the US, we can forget trading with Europe

Remember the horse meat in beef scandal? Once chlorinated chicken (and other substandard food ingredients, for example poorly regulated genetically modified cereals from the US) enter the UK, these could pass anywhere in the food chain. Then, in order for the EU to keep its rather sensible, pragmatic and level headed standards , no processed foods of any kind will be able to pass from the UK to Europe. Thus an entire major industry will be destroyed at a stroke.

We also see that the vast majority of Britons (both pro- and anti-Brexit) don’t want this drop in standards.

In a nutshell, Trump, get lost – we don’t want your “junk” food

PS I have a degree in biological sciences.

Bob Stewart
Address supplied

Why bring horses to premature deaths?

It’s time to stop fussing over silly hats and to focus on the death toll at the Grand National. Since 2000, more than 40 horses have perished in the event at Aintree, and the odds are that yet more will pay with their lives at this year’s meet.

Pushing horses beyond their natural abilities on an intentionally dangerous course is a recipe for disaster: many collapse, crash through railings, sustain broken legs and necks, and endure what the industry euphemistically calls “breakdown”. Others face heart attacks, bleeding in their lungs, or painful ulcers and other health problems that come only from being forced to run to their breaking point.

How many more will suffer and die before horse racing is finally put out to pasture?

Jennifer White, Media and Partnerships Coordinator at Peta
London N1

It’s not as clear cut as Brexiteers and Remoaners

In yesterday’s Independent one of your Letter writers suggested that we dump the terms Brexiteer and Remoaner in favour of something more progressive.

While I agree that it is time to move on, the real need is to move on from this sharply polarised view of the issue and recognise that there is a whole spectrum of opinion between those who say we should simply walk away from the EU now and those who say we should retain our membership. Most members of the public sit in the middle of this spectrum. Perhaps we should call them Bragmatists.

Bernard Cudd

Pun intended?

I note that your correspondent Julian Scott (Letters), who had problems with hotel showers, comes from Bath.

Mark Thomas

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