Will Taxes Change Behavior When It Comes to Plastic?

White Ceramic Teacup and brown paper cup sitting on a table

Will Fees Intended to Reduce Plastic Use Work?

As discarded plastic builds up many governments are looking for solutions. The notion of charging fees on plastic packaging items has slowly been gaining in popularity. Disposable plastic bag fees are in place throughout the U.S. and a proposed British cup tax could drastically reduce plastic use. That is if consumers are willing to change their ways over a fee.

The Benefits of Plastic

Plastic is convenient due to it’s lightweight and durable nature. These traits make plastic a great material for shopping bags. Plastic is also waterproof, making it useful for single-use coffee cups and even water bottles. Despite all of the benefits of plastic, there are some glaring issues. Plastic can be recycled, however, it seldom is.

Difficulty Recycling Disposable Cups

Single-use coffee cups made from paper feature a plastic lining that makes the cup waterproof. That plastic lining is largely what makes the cups so difficult to recycle. Most recycling facilities are unable to separate the plastic interior from the paper exterior. For this reason, the majority of the disposable coffee cups handed out are not recycled.

Unfortunate Reality of Plastic Products

Most single-use coffee cups are thrown in the trash and either carted off to landfills or incinerated. Many cups are also tossed aside as litter. Plastic does not break down, so when plastic ends up in a landfill or as litter it takes up space and becomes a risk to animals and habitats. Incinerating addresses the space issue, but it still not a responsible use of resources. Recycling poses the ideal solution because the materials can be processed and manufactured into new items again and again.

Effectiveness of Fees

Disposable plastic bag fees are proven to reduce the use of plastic bags. The fee is enough of a deterrent to cause shoppers to ditch plastic in favor of reusable bags. Fewer single-use plastic bags handed out means less trash in landfills and less litter. British officials are hoping that the success of the plastic bag fee can be replicated to reduce other plastic items.

Many coffee shops and cafes offer a discount to customers who bring their own reusable cup; however, many consumers fail to bring their own cup. It is likely the fee may push consumers to change their habits and go reusable.

Financing a Solution

Every municipality that imposes a plastic reduction fee chooses how the money raised by the fee is to be used. In the case of the British cup tax, the money would be used to improve recycling facilities to increase the capabilities.

Education Aspect

Fees raise awareness around plastics and how materials are handled. When consumers understand the issue they are more likely to support a solution. A great aspect of the fee structure is that the fee only impacts consumers who use the materials. Consumers who order coffee and other hot beverages on the go are the ones who will pay the fee. Being aware of the problem may even inspire consumers to make other changes in their lives to reduce plastic use.

Time to Go Reusable Now

From grocery bags to coffee cups there are reusable options available that make disposable plastic options unnecessary. These reusable products can be customized with your brand’s marketing information to create effective promotional products. We have been in the business of creating unique and eye-catching customized gear for over 20 years, so we can help you through the entire process. Get in touch if you have questions or want to learn more.


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