Some coffee shops in Montreal could soon start charging 25 cent for disposable coffee cups in a bid to encourage more customers to bring their own reusable mug and cut down on waste.
Several independent café owners in Canada’s second largest city are to meet this week to discuss a possible ‘latte levy’.
McGill university student Olivia St. Laurent hopes to convince businesses to adopt the charge and put the money towards environmental research.
“We want businesses to be taking responsibility for their ecological footprint and we want customers also to realize that their lifestyle choices have an impact,” the environmental studies scholar told CTV Montreal.
Many of the paper cups used for takeaway coffees are lined with a thin layer of plastic to make them waterproof, making them extremely difficult to recycle.
“We would like to put pressure on the bigger corporations like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s, to eventually reduce or change their practices,” said St. Laurent.
Government ministers in the United Kingdom are considering a similar measure of taxing takeaway coffee cups by 25 pence.
Starbucks was the first U.K. chain to introduce a 5p charge on single-use cups.
Customers using reusable mugs already receive a 25p discount off any Starbucks drink, while those drinking in-store are encouraged to use ceramic cups.
The impact of plastic pollution on wildlife has been highlighted in recent years by naturalist Sir David Attenborough and others.
There has also been a push to ban plastic straws which can end up harming animals. The European Union is considering prohibiting single-use straws.
There are also growing fears that plastic eaten by animals is making its way into food meant for human consumption.