A UK coffee chain has announced it will be the first to ban disposable cups, with changes coming in as early as 1 June.
Independently-owned Boston Tea Party, which has 21 cafes across the South West and the Midlands, will come into effect in just over a month - making it one of the boldest commitments so far.
All is not lost if you forget your cup, customers will be offered a number of alternatives from buying a reusable cup in store or using an in store cup loan scheme. For this, you would pay a deposit of £4.25-£4.75 (depending on the size of your cup) and will be refunded upon return to any one of the chain’s outlets.
The UK generates an estimated 25,000 tons of coffee cup waste by going through 2.5 billion disposable cups each year, according to a study by Cardiff University.
BTP’s move is one of the more drastic solutions to the UK’s single use plastic issue - a spokesperson revealed the company is standing to lose over one million pounds in takeaway coffee sales, which account for 5.2% of Boston Tea Party’s total turnover of £19.8m.
“Lots of coffee chains are making pledges about how they plan to tackle cup waste in the future. But theirs is a future which is too far away,” Sam Roberts, owner and managing director of BTP said. “We need to stop right now. I’d stop tomorrow but I think it’s only fair to give our loyal customers and fantastic team a month to get used to the idea.”
After the government’s rejection of the Latte Levy, the team at BTP become more adamant that reducing and reusing coffee cups are the only sustainable options left. Its previous introduction of a 25p discount for coffee drinkers with reusable cups saw a 2.8% take up, which was not deemed enough to make an environmental difference.
“We want to demonstrate to others that to make a difference, big change is needed,” Roberts has said.
What other coffee chains are doing
Back in January this year, Pret increased its discount for customers with a reusable cup from 25p to 50p. This means that a small filter coffee now costs just 49p.
A 5p latte levy for customers who choose to use disposable takeaway cups has been introduced across 35 London Starbucks stores.
Customers receive a 25p discount when they bring in a reusable coffee cup
The reusable coffee cup discount was increased to 50p, effective from 16th April.
Instead of a discount, reusable coffee cup users will receive a double stamp on their loyalty cards, bringing them one step closer to a free coffee.