UK supermarket chain Waitrose, which has around 350 stores across the UK, has announced it will be scrapping disposable coffee cups by autumn 2018. All customers wishing to purchase a hot drink from self-service machines in store will have to have a reusable cup of their own.
The UK currently throws out 2.5 billion cups every year due to poor collection infrastructure, contamination by liquids and the plastic-paper composition of the cups themselves which makes them difficult to recycle. Tor Harris, head of sustainability at Waitrose, commented: “We realise this is a major change, but we … are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits.” The company claims the move could save 52 million cups from being thrown away every year.
Welcoming the measure was Sian Sutherland, co-founder of campaign group A Plastic Planet, who said: “I call on all Waitrose shoppers to applaud their retailer and support them by bringing a cup. Letâs not moan about convenience when we know what the true price of convenience is – plastic sea and plastic soil.”