Bruton To Slap Tax On Coffee Cups

06 Nov 2019 | 11.07 am

Bruton To Slap Tax On Coffee Cups

Cup levy could be 25 cents a pop

06 Nov 2019 | 11.07 am

Disposable coffee cups are a prime target in climate change minister Richard Bruton’s latest measures to cut plastics use and waste generally, with a levy of 10 cents to 25 cents per cup to be implemented within the next 18 months.

Minister Bruton (pictured) said 22,000 disposable coffee and tea cups are used every hour. He added that coffee shops will have to introduce clear pricing information to encourage consumers to switch to ‘keep cups’ of their own when buying takeaway hot drinks. 

Bruton suggested that this would mean three pricings per item: the price of the coffee with a keep cup; the price of a coffee in a throwaway cup; and the price for the drink if the customer sits in the premises using the shop’s tableware.

The minister also announced an increase to the existing plastic bag levy from the current rate of 22c to 25c. The scope of this tax is also being expanded to include medium weight plastic bags.

This references plastic bags designed for re-use and the free bags of a specific size used for items such as fish, meat, poultry and vegetables. In relation to plastic bags for purchase, there are typically  three options available in larger retail outlets: (1) the light small plastic bag, currently levied; (2) a medium weight, stronger plastic bag typically costing more than 70 cent; and (3) a larger, more expensive and durable ‘bag-for-life’. To encourage a shift to the larger option at (3), it is proposed to remove the exemption on the medium plastic bags at (2).

Bruton also signalled an increase in the landfill levy by €5 to €80 per tonne. Also planned is a new waste recovery levy of €5 per tonne, applying to landfill, incineration, and export.

Bruton claims that climate disruption is the biggest challenge facing this generation. “A tonne of food wasted, or single use packaging tipped into a landfill, results in the six tonnes of carbon which it took to make that food or packaging, completely lost to the world. Even if such waste is not avoided, residual waste could be halved if businesses and homes put things in the right bin.”

He also intends to develop a second phase of levies, to come into effect from 2022, which will focus on take-away food containers, and a third phase which will address food packaging in retail outlets including for bakery items, fruit, vegetables, and so on.

All the measures, including the longer term ones, are up for public consultation until December 20, and anyone may make a submission — details are online here.

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