A new ‘latte levy’ to restrict the use of disposable coffee cups is set to be introduced in the coming months.The legislation to incentivise the use of recycled and reusable alternatives to single-use disposable packaging has been signed into law by President Micheal D Higgins.

The new law also paves the way for use of CCTV to detect and deter illegal dumping and littering.

Ossian Smyth, the minister of state with responsibility for Communications and the Circular Economy, said that the Government is to enter into a public consultation process with regard to the levy.

“It’s going to take about 90 days for us to do the public consultation. It’s not just about coffee cups, it’s any food packaging or any product packaging,” he said.

“If we find out that there is a good reusable alternative and we think it’s feasible to move to that, we can put a small levy on something and encourage consumers to change.

“We’re starting with coffee cups. We’ve been through this process before with plastic bags 20 years ago and we made exceptions.”

The minister added that the Government will take a “very practical approach” but that there are many cafes that have already removed disposable cups and “it’s working really well for them”.

“Nobody is going to be caught short on this and it’s going to save you money on your coffee,” he said.

“You’re not going to have to pay for that cup because the cup costs the café 20 cent.”