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    Ireland to Impose ‘Latte Levy’ on Disposable Coffee Cups by 2021 to Cut Plastic Waste

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    Ireland will impose a “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups by 2021 to lessen the environmental impact of single-use plastics, the country’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton announced Wednesday.

    According to Bruton, the levy “has clear benefits for the environment, when you consider that 22,000 disposable coffee and tea cups are used every hour. Our first response must be to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place,” TheJournal.ie reported. 

    A study published last year by the government-funded organization Recycling List Ireland revealed that around 200 million single-use coffee cups are tossed out every year in Ireland. Government officials are hoping that the levy will prompt coffee drinkers to employ reusable cups at coffee shops.

    The proposed levy could be as high as $0.28 per cup and will be officially announced after the completion of six weeks of market research. 

    This is not the first time that Ireland has instituted levies on plastic products. In 2002, the country introduced a $0.28 levy on plastic bags. And a tax on plastic coffee cups is not the only change on the horizon: the Irish government is also planning to impose levies on take-away food containers in 2022, Reuters reported, also noting that a third phase of levies in the future could extend to food packaging.

    Ireland has been attempting to boost its environmental protection efforts, especially since it’s doing poorly in the emissions management department.

    According to the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the country is “not on the right trajectory to meet longer term EU and national emission reduction commitments.” 

    In fact, the country’s Climate Change Advisory Council concluded in a report last year that Ireland was “completely off course” regarding its goal to curb greenhouse emissions.

    “Instead of achieving the required reduction of 1 million tonnes per year in carbon dioxide emissions, consistent with the national policy position, Ireland is currently increasing emissions at a rate of 2 million tonnes per year,” the report reads.

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