The government says it has no plans to tax coffee shop cups after a minister suggested it could repeat its "success" in cutting plastic bag waste.
Rory Stewart told MPs there was a "huge" problem with unrecyclable, plastic-lined paper cups.
High street coffee chains were accused of making false claims about how many paper cups they recycle last week, with less than one in 400 paper coffee cups being recycled, despite many carrying the recycling logo.
Stewart said the plastic bag tax had worked well and cups would be a "very good thing to look at next". But Mr Stewart’s department, Defra, released a statement saying there were "no plans" for a tax.
Campaigners say that disposable coffee cups handed out in their billions are "virtually impossible" to recycle despite major cafe chains claiming theirs are eco-friendly.
Answering a Commons question from Labour MP Rob Marris, environment minister Rory Stewart said: "It’s a huge problem and there are tens of millions of these things being produced and thrown away.
"Having tackled plastic bags, which I hope everybody in the House would agree the plastic bag tax has been a success, coffee cups seem to be a very good thing to look at next."
A Defra spokesman said: "While the minister acknowledged more needs to be done to recycle coffee cups, there are no plans to tax them."