Coffee Cup Conundrum: Failure of the Latte Levy and Where to Get Your Discount

Written by Alice Pattinson

In the UK we get through 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year: the majority of which are never recycled. The cups are exported, sent to landfill, or are incinerated: their plastic lining makes for an expensive recycling process. 

With Theresa May’s war on plastic waste hitting the headlines over the past few months it has been difficult to avoid the topic. Just one in every 400 cups is recycled and half a million are littered In the UK each day. 

In hope to combat this issue, Environment Secretary Michael Gove handed out a reusable coffee cup to every member of cabinet and supported plans for a 25p tax on disposable coffee cups. 

Last week we received news that plans for a `latte levy` have crumbled under pressure and it has now been left with retailers to voluntarily add an additional charge onto disposable coffee cups.  

Despite this set back, we cannot deny the importance of extensive publicity, which has led to a rocket in the sales of reusable drinks containers. 

Argos revealed that they had sold 537% more portable cups in December 2017 than the same month of the previous year. 

Where can I get my discount? 

You will also be pleased to know that several major café chains have responded by incentivising the use of reusable cups. 

The best discounts around for refusing to use that disposable-

1. Pret a Manger = 50p 

2. Leon = 30p

3. Starbucks = 25p 

4. Costa Coffee = 25p 

5. Greggs = 20p 

For you Café Nero fans out there it is also worth noting that they will offer an additional stamp on your loyalty card for using a reusable coffee cup.

The bad news is that if you, like many of us, are guilty of not cleaning your coffee cup between use, your favourite café chain can refuse to fill your cup by law. 

Keeping it clean 

Whilst not being able to get your discount is a bit of a pain, perhaps we should be considering the more important issues associated with your not-so-hygienic afternoon cuppa. 

Shockingly, research carried out by The University of Arizona in 2017 found that 90% of coffee cups and mugs in the workplace had bacteria contamination from species dangerous to human health. 20% of these also carried faecal matter.  

Nick Phin, deputy director of the national infection service at Public Health England, has confirmed that bacteria thrive both in the cup and where liquid builds up around the mouthpiece. 

Results of a study carried out by Aston University in February 2018 have also sugegsted that, to effectively reduce bacterial load, the cup must be cleaned immediately after finishing your drink.

This is particularly important with hot drinks where dairy and sugar provide the perfect breeding ground for potentially dangerous bacteria. 

I think most of us would agree that this is not always practical (or even possible) during a busy working day. 

So how do we reduce the rate of bacterial growth between cleans?

Antimicrobial protection for the lifetime of your hot drinks cup

Biomaster antimicrobial technology provides durable 24-hour product protection against the growth of harmful micro-organisms on the surface of your hot drinks cup. 

Silver ion technology works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria landing on the cup: unable to produce energy or replicate, they can`t survive.


When incorporated into the manufacturing process, Biomaster becomes an integral part of the material and does not leach or migrate out. The technology does not affect the characteristics of the material in any way and offers a low cost added benefit to your design. 

You can’t see, smell or even taste Biomaster.  

Looking to add antimicrobial protection to your range of reusable cups? 

Click here to download a Biomaster brochure

Click here to contact Addmaster for a free Biomaster consultation

+44(0)1785 225656

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