Starbucks 'latte levy' to fund plastic fishing trips

Starbucks cups
CC BY 2.0 Ruben Schade

In recycled boats, no less.

In an effort to curb the insane number of Starbucks cups that end up in landfill each year, the coffee giant has launched a "latte levy" in select UK stores, charging 5p for each disposable cup that's used. And the company is now taking the initiative nationwide.

While the 5p figure is low, by my estimation -- and it certainly doesn't match the bravery of chains like Boston Tea Party which banned disposable cups altogether -- it is a start. And with an additional 25p discount for folks who are using their own reusable cups, it's not exactly negligible either. Indeed the expansion of the scheme is happening, in part because use of reusable cups grew from 2.2 per cent of hot drinks sold to 5.8 per cent following the introduction. And the other silver lining is that the huge number of cups that Starbucks still uses should mean that a decent amount of money is raised by the initiative.

So what's the company going to do with all that cash?

Business Green reports that it's going to be used to help children go plastic fishing or, more specifically, to help the waste charity Hubbub Foundation launch a second of its 99% recycled plastic boats, which it uses to take groups out fishing for plastic along the Thames.

And that's just the start of it. According to a blog post on the Hubbub website, the charity is also planning a raft of other initiatives focused on plastics and litter, including:

1) The expansion of Plastic Fishing trips to another city
2) The launch of a significant new social experiment designed to boost recycling on the go
3) The development of three anti-littering campaigns stopping plastics entering waterways
4) Further campaigns promoting the reuse and recycling of coffee cups

Oh, and if you're interested in getting involved in these efforts, you can help out by naming the new plastic fishing vessel. Just be sure to post your suggestions to social media before August 9th and—sorry Lloyd—remember to use the hashtag:

#NotBoatFace

Starbucks 'latte levy' to fund plastic fishing trips
In recycled boats, no less.

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