Would you pay 25p extra for your morning coffee to cut waste?

Experts estimated a 25p levy could raise £438million and lead to a 30 per cent reduction in the number of cups as more people carry their own. Last night Starbucks became the first firm to break ranks saying it would pilot a 5p charge in selected store

Latte levy: Coffee cups could be banned by 2023

The UK Parliament's environmental audit committee, which looks at how various government departments and public bodies contribute to the environment, also recommended banning disposable coffee cups if they are not all recyclable by 2023. "Their silence speaks volumes", MPs said.

Two of the UK's most prominent waste management companies and the Paper Cup Alliance have responded to the call from the Environmental Audit Committee today for a 25p "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups. Half a million coffee cups are littered each day in the United Kingdom, the report said.

Some 30,000 tonnes of waste is produced from coffee cups in the United Kingdom every year. The takeaway cups have a plastic lining, which means nearly none are ever recycled.

Edwin Harrison, owner of the independent Artisan coffee shop in West London, fears many of his customers would stay away if a charge was brought in.

It added: "We recommend that the Government sets a target that all single use coffee cups disposed of in recycling bins should be recycled by 2023. Disposable coffee cups are an avoidable waste problem and if the United Kingdom can not be confident of their future sustainability, the government should ban them", said Creagh. Costa is also collecting cups from rival brands in its shops.

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the production and shipment of 2.5 billion cups - the number discarded in the United Kingdom every year - is equivalent to that produced by burning around 120 million litres of petrol.

CIWM would like to see renewed efforts by coffee retailers to promote reusable cups to their customers, adding that and a government-backed voluntary agreement might be a sensible first step. The three-month trial will begin in February.

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Research by psychologists suggests charging customers 25p for a disposable cup would have a greater impact, reducing the number sold by up to 30%.

The Liberal Democrats said they had been campaigning for a charge on coffee cups since September 2016 and were the only party to include the policy in their 2017 election manifesto.

Unlike other items, coffee cups cannot be recycled as they are made from cardboard with a tightly bonded polyethylene liner, which is hard to remove and means they can not be processed through paper mills.

Starbucks says the 5p charge is one of a number of measures to encourage a switch to reusable cups.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said the 5p plastic bag charge is proof that "these levies work".

The lawmakers say a stick is more effective than a carrot in changing consumer behavior. "The government must do the same and introduce the levy as soon as possible".

However, some customers have complained on social media that they have seen baristas measuring drinks in disposable cups and then tipping the drink into a reusable vessel - negating the whole point of the exercise.

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