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Britain Considers Huge Tax on Coffee Cups to Reduce Waste

Britain Considers Huge Tax on Coffee Cups to Reduce Waste

The proposed “latte levy” would add a 34-cent tax to every disposable coffee cup sold

Dreamstime

A proposed tax would add 34 cents to every disposable coffee cup sold in Britain.

Every year, 2.5 billion disposable paper coffee cups are thrown away in Britain alone, and more than 99 percent of them are not recycled. As the number of coffee drinkers grows, the amount of waste generated by used coffee cups is expected to increase dramatically, and now Britain is considering a significant tax on coffee cups in an attempt to reduce waste and get people to opt for reusable cups instead.

According to the New York Times, a parliamentary report from the House of Commons has recommended a tax of 25 pence, or 34 cents, on all disposable coffee cups sold. That’s a huge markup on a product that is already pretty expensive, and it’s designed to be big enough to make people actually carry reusable cups. A five-cent tax might make people complain, but a 34-cent tax might make them actually change their habits.

A big part of the problem with the coffee cups is that most of them are not recyclable. Most paper coffee cups are coated with a thin layer of plastic, and the vast majority of recycling operations are not equipped to remove that layer and recycle it and the paper. Also, most facilities won’t recycle paper that has come into contact with food.

According to the report from the House of Commons Environmental Action Committee, many people mistakenly think the cups are recyclable or biodegradable, but in fact only one in 400 cups is recycled.

That means 99.75 percent of the 2.5 billion cups discarded annually in Britain wind up in landfills, or burned in incinerators.

Taxes like the proposed “latte levy” have been effective at curbing waste before. Britain charges five pence for a plastic bag at a store, and the use of plastic bags has dropped 80 percent since the tax was introduced in 2015. The 2.5 billion cups disposed annually could wrap around the world five times, and that's just in Britain. Here are 10 mind-blowing facts about food waste in America.


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


First they came for our plastic bags, now they’re coming for our coffee cups

Having led the way with the coalition’s popular 5p bag levy, the Lib Dems have another cunning plan .

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

The Lib Dems plan to reduce paper cup usage by 2bn a year with a 5p levy. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.43 BST

Name: The 5p cup charge.

Status: Just a possibility.

I’m sorry, the who? Come on, you remember the Liberal Democrats. Decent sorts. Broke your heart. Got decimated in the election. You can fit all of them in a minivan.

Right, I remember. What have they got against cups? The UK gets through 5,000 disposable coffee cups every single minute of the day.

Really? We recycle that many? No, because many of the cups aren’t recyclable. To make them waterproof, the paper they are made from is fused with polyethlene, which …

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Right. So now Tim Farron is saying that he wants to cut the number of disposable cups we use, by introducing a 5p levy.

Like we did with plastic bags? Exactly. We’ve used 6bn fewer plastic bags since the charge came in last year, raising almost £30m for charity in the process. Farron claims that a 5p cup charge would similarly reduce the number of cups by 2bn.

What a good idea. It’s not perfect, obviously. Like the supermarkets before them, coffee shops would have to introduce some sort of “cup for life” scheme.

You mean a cup? Yes, like a cup. But one that lasts for several drinks at a time.

Like a cup? A regular cup? You’ve lost me.

Anyway, this sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talking about this on a BBC TV programme last month? No, no. This is something else entirely. This is entirely the work of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats. It’s their idea and if this ever becomes a thing it’s all because of them.

And didn’t Rory Stewart say something about this earlier in the year when he was an environment minister? No, nope, definitely not. Absolutely different. This is all Tim Farron’s idea and from now on we should all refer to the 5p cup charge as the “definitely Tim Farron’s 5p cup charge”.

Will Tim Farron get this through parliament by himself, then? Good point.

Do say: “Regardless of whose idea this is, this should be implemented as soon as possible.”

Don’t say: “I didn’t bring a cup. Please pour my venti soy latte directly into my mouth, and misspell my name on my cheek.”


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