Britain has resisted a call by campaigners and MPs to impose a so-called "latte levy" on single-use coffee cups, opting instead to reduce the use of the cups through voluntary measures.
Less than 1 percent of coffee cups are recycled in Britain because of the tightly bonded plastic liner, the difficulties of recycling packaging that has been in contact with food and drink and a lack of facilities.
A committee of MPs had recommended a 25 pence levy on the use of disposable coffee cups to try to reduce their usage.
The government has previously introduced a 5p charge on plastic bags and in Friday's response to the recommendations, it said the plastic bag levy showed "these types of incentives can change consumer behaviour".
But the government offered no concrete proposals to introduce a levy, adding coffee shops already offered discounts to customers who used reusable cups.
It also said cup makers could be encouraged to produce more eco-friendly products.
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Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee that recommended the levy, said "the government's response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action".