Independently-owned cafe chain Boston Tea Party is to become Britain’s first to implement a complete ban on disposable cups, which will come into effect on 1 June this year.
The company, which has 21 branches across the South West and the Midlands, has said customers can bring their own reusable cups, take advantage of a new cup loan scheme or buy a cup in the cafe once the ban comes into effect.
Owner and managing director Sam Roberts described waste from disposable cups as “senseless”, and said: “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. We need to stop right now.”
He added: “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.”
Takeaway hot drinks represent 5.2 per cent of Boston Tea Party's total turnover of £19.8m, and the company has said the move means they could see sales hit to the tune of £1m.
Despite the financial implications Mr Roberts has said he is determined the decision will be a success.
“We want to demonstrate to other operators that to make a difference, big change is needed,” he said.
“We will make this work and we’ll share details of how we’ve done it with anyone who wants our help to do the same. We dream of a future where our children marvel at the fact that pre-2018 we would regularly use a cup once and throw it away.
“The discarded cup could then take centuries to decompose. When you consider it in those terms, it really is senseless.”
The Independent’s Cut the Cup Waste campaign has been pushing for action from businesses and government to work towards better solutions to the problem of disposable coffee cup waste.
Pressure has been growing to deal with disposable cup waste since a report by the Environmental Audit Committee revealed the scale of the problem.
Though the government has considered the introduction of a “latte levy” – a 25p tax on all takeaway coffee cups – it has recently shied away from such a measure.
A poll by The Independent found that the majority of the British public would support such a charge, and both ministers and environmental groups have thrown their support behind it.
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