Waitrose have decided to ditch disposable coffee cups in their stores, which will avoid 52 million single-use cups being used. It is estimated that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK, with a very small number being recycled. Disposable coffee cups are hard to recycle because of their plastic lining, and often go into landfill.
Disposable cups will be removed from all Waitrose stores by autumn 2018, and members of the Waitrose loyalty scheme using the self-service machines will be required to bring in their own reusable cup.
The decision to end the use of disposable cups in their stores backs their commitment to plastic and packaging reduction. Last week the supermarkets announced that they were no longer offering plastic straws in their cafés, and do not sell single-use plastic cutlery and straws in the stores.
Head of Sustainability at Waitrose, Tor Harris, said: “We realise this is a major change, but we believe removing all takeaway disposable cups is the right thing to do for our business and are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits.
“It underlines our commitment to plastic and packaging reduction and our aim is to deliver this as quickly as possible.”
Substitute items are being offered to customers who do not have a disposable coffee cups in stores that have a café, however in certain stores customers without a reusable cup will not have access to the free hot drink offered as part of the loyalty scheme.
Stores that are first to see disposable cups removed are: Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster, and the little Waitrose in Fitzroy Street, Cambridge.