DO you think your latte is a lotta money? Or your cappuccino needs a price cap?

Spare a thought for Boston Tea Party (BTP), an independent coffee chain, who voluntarily banned single use cups last year. It was an expensive decision – to the tune of £250,000.

From June 2018, the chain’s 22 stores decided to put planet before profit, and told their customers they had to bring a reusable cup, pay a deposit on one that they could return, or drink their hot beverage of choice in the branch.

A bold decision and one that has proven costly. Owner Sam Roberts realised this would happen, and included the loss in his plans. With normal annual sales of £1m worth of takeaway coffees, a 25 per cent drop is a big hit for a relatively small organisation.

Finding that offering 25p off for customers with their own reusable cup didn’t really work (just five per cent showed up with cup), BTP decided to really go for it. Roberts has challenged the bigger chains to follow-suit, saying “We felt this was a financial loss we had to take and we want this to be a call to action to other companies”.

According to BTP, their decision has stopped 125,000 cups going in to landfill, as the paper and plastic lining are too difficult to recycle. It’s a great result, but when you consider that 2.5billion cups are just thrown away every year, with only a paltry 0.25 per cent recycled, you can see the scale of the problem – it’s a drop in the already very polluted ocean.

The idea that a “latte levy” would be introduced in last Autumn’s budget was dropped, with ministers opting to leave it to stores to offer a discount if customers bring their own cup. Going on BTP’s experience, that has very little effect.

As a video accompanying a report on BTP’s actions on the BBC News website depressingly revealed, a lot of people really don’t care. One of the interviewees declared it to be a good scheme, but didn’t do it “because I just can’t be bothered with a reusable cup and washing it up myself.”

How depressing. Can you imagine the big chains voluntarily losing 25 per cent of their frothy coffee earnings to help save the environment? Maybe it’s time that we were compelled to do this, rather than politely asked if we wouldn’t mind.

Many of us already bring our own bags to supermarkets. Should cups for coffee be next?