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Sunday 17 November 2019

Public to have say on 'latte levy' and other eco-friendly charges

Minister Richard Bruton
Minister Richard Bruton

A "latte levy" will be introduced by the end of 2021, ministers agreed yesterday.

The tax on disposable coffee cups has been long-flagged - but Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton believes a period of public consultation is needed first.

The Cabinet has signed off a number of proposed environment levies to encourage more sustainable behaviour.

The proposed first phase of levies is as follows:

  • An increase to the existing Plastic Bag Levy from the current rate of 22c to 25c;
  • Expanding the Plastic Bag Levy to cover medium- weight plastic bags ('bags for life' remain exempt);
  • A Waste Recovery Levy at €5 a tonne. This would apply to the three key waste recovery options - landfill, incineration and export;
  • And an increase to the Landfill Levy by €5 per tonne, to €80 per tonne.

A move to tax coffee cups is likely to be one of the more controversial elements of the plan. The minister is to put the idea to public consultation with a view to introducing a levy that, following market research, is likely to be 10c, 15c or 25c.

"The levy has clear benefits for the environment, when you consider that 22,000 disposable coffee and tea cups are used every hour," Mr Bruton said.

"Our first response must be to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place.

"The coffee cup levy should also lead to savings for consumers who make the switch, as well as savings for retailers who have to carry less disposable stock."

The Government will call on shops to display information on the price of coffee in a disposable cup versus if the consumer brings their own.

Reinvested

It is also proposed to develop a second phase of levies, to come into effect from 2022, which would focus on takeaway food containers, and a third phase which will address food packaging in retail outlets including for bakery items, fruit, vegetables, etc.

The exact scope and rate of such levies is to be developed but these items will also be included in the consultation.

All revenue raised from these measures will go into the Environment Fund and be reinvested in environmental action, such as tackling waste blackspots and litter community programmes such as the National Spring Clean initiative, Tidy Towns and the development of community areas and gardens.

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