US coffee giant Starbucks is now charging customers an additional 5p for disposable coffee cups in 35 of its London stores, as part of a three-month ‘latte levy’ trial to reduce waste across the capital.

A new study commissioned by the chain found that 48% of respondents would use a reusable cup to avoid the charge, which would no doubt help reduce the 2.5 billion cups thrown away in the UK each year, and the further half a million dropped every day as litter.

All proceeds will be donated to the environmental charity, Hubub, to fund additional research; track the impact of the trial cup charge on customer behaviour and waste reduction, and encourage use of reusable cups.

Starbucks vice president of communications, Simon Redfern, said: “We’re hoping that this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic-lined cups, as it has with plastic bags.

“We’ve offered a reusable cup discount for 20 years, with only 1.8% of customers currently taking up this offer, so we’re really interested in working with Hubbub to see how this charge could help to change behaviour and help to reduce waste.”

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Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub added: “Our early conversations with customers have shown an increased awareness of the need to reduce waste from single-use cups.

“Previous studies have shown that adding a charge on single-use cups is more effective than money off a reusable cup.

“We’re excited to be working with Starbucks on this initiative to find out if this is the case on the high street, and to discover what else will encourage people to use reusable cups.”