LONDON -- Starbucks outlets in central London are beginning a three-month trial charging customers for takeaway coffee cups.
The coffee giant says it is hoping to encourage and support the use of reusable cups to reduce waste.
The company pledges to donate the charge of 7 cents (5 pence) per disposable cup to an environmental charity, Hubbub, which is partnering with Starbucks on the initiative and will monitor results from the London trial as part of a study.
The “latte levy” will be implemented in 20 to 25 central London stores for the trial.
The trial of charging for disposable cups comes on top of a 35-cent discount that Starbucks already offers to customers who bring reusable containers for their coffee.
Shops are already obliged to charge shoppers 7-cents for using plastic bags, and the government is looking at other ways to reduce the amount of plastic that is thrown away.
Coffee cups in Starbucks are made of cardboard but can't be recycled due to the inner polyethylene liner, which coats the cups to make them safe and strong enough to withstand hot drinks.
Starbucks says it will look at the response from customers at the end of the three-month trial before taking next steps.