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Earthwatch Europe backs call to introduce a surcharge on single-use cups

Earthwatch Europe is supporting a petition launched by Keep Britain Tidy to introduce a charge of at least 25p on single-use cups.

In April 2019 our Plastic Rivers report found that disposable plastic cups and lids were the 6th most prevalent form of macroplastic pollution in freshwater environments.

Our research found that an estimated 2.5 billion coffee cups (30,000 tonnes) are used and thrown away in the UK. The vast majority contain a plastic lining which is tightly bonded to the paper, making the cup waterproof and able to hold liquid. 99% are currently not recycled.

If everyone ceased to use disposable cups and switched to a reusable alternative, 1,500 tonnes of plastic waster could be avoided.

We are asking our supporters to sign the petition on The petition is also supported by the following organisations: Keep Britain Tidy, Greenpeace, Surfers Against Sewage, the Marine Conservation Society, CPRE and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland.


Image credit: Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke


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