Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Viewpoint: Leave the latte levy

25 January 2018 by
Viewpoint: Leave the latte levy

A tax on the public to reduce plastic waste is unnecessary when the industry already has a better solution, says Martin Kersh

Latte levy, single-use plastic tax, deposits: whatever the name you use to describe plans to eliminate plastic waste, to-go packaging has allowed a major part of the UK hospitality industry to thrive over the past decade. With the public becoming more environmentally conscious than ever, it is currently the subject of daily media attention with its existence challenged even by the prime minister.

The industry uses packaging in one form or another both front and back of house. From guest amenities to pizza boxes and sandwich packs, doggie boxes, coffee and drinks cups, straws and cutlery, these items form a vital cog in our collective wheel.

However, something clearly needs to be done to ensure plastics do not end up in oceans, that we reduce litter and the hospitality sector plays its role in delivering a circular economy. With so much political and media attention, it is inevitable operators are questioning their usage.

We have discussed a reform of the Packaging Recovery Note system, designed to enable businesses to meet their producer obligations by a charge on all those who place packaging onto the market to ensure it is recycled. This scheme is no longer fit for purpose but can be reformed relatively quickly to create more funding for recycling and at less administrative and financial cost to UK businesses than the methods proposed, and at no cost to the consumer.

This scheme must embrace more of the industry, with businesses paying more to fund recovery and recycling at the level needed to fulfil the government's recycling targets, with higher legally binding targets on the way. It must now be fully transparent, so you have certainty that the funding from operators is used for collection and recycling and is not disappearing into government coffers. This provides far better value than administering a 'latte levy' or operating a deposit return system, and will help to create the much-needed, UK-wide, on-the-go waste-management infrastructure.

Why tax the public if industry has a better solution? Packaging plays a vital role in reducing food waste. When you are considering your plans, decisions should not be based on avoiding one material but on what is best to deliver food or drink to your customers for them to enjoy and consume safely with the least impact, particularly with respect to reducing food waste, eliminating litter and achieving more efficient recycling.

Martin Kersh, executive director, Foodservice Packaging Association

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking