Starbucks Trials 5p Paper Cup Charge In The UK

 In Coffee News

To help tackle the problem of single-use paper cups and the waste that they create on a daily basis, coffee chain Starbucks has announced that it will be introducing a 5p paper cup charge in 35 stores across London to see if it’ll help people change their attitudes towards coffee and waste.

Research from the Seattle-based company has found that 48 per cent of people would carry a reusable cup, which would drive down waste and help save money to boot. Since 2014, Starbucks has had a £1 reusable cup on offer to make it as easy as they can for customers to reuse receptacles without having to break the bank.

The proceeds from this new 5p charge will be donated to Hubbub, an environmental and behavioural change charity. The organisation will track the impact of the three-month trial to see what effect it has on customer behaviour, encouraging the use of reusable cups and helping to drive down wastage.

Starbucks baristas will also make sure that all customers who come to enjoy a cup of private label coffee are offered their drinks in a ceramic cup in a further attempt to reduce waste.

Vice-president of communications with Starbucks Europe Simon Redfern commented on the news, saying: “We’re hoping that this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic-lined cups, as it has with plastic bags. We’ve offered a reusable cup discount for 20 years, with only 1.8 per cent of customers currently taking up this offer, so we’re really interested in working with Hubbub to see how this charge could help to change behaviour and help to reduce waste.”

This comes after MPs called on the government to bring in a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups to help tackle the waste problem. A report from a Commons committee published earlier this year emphasised the fact that if all cups aren’t recycled in just five years’ time, an outright ban on these cups should be introduced. Some 2.5 billion disposable cups are binned every year – so it’s clear that something must be done.

Like Starbucks, some big-name brands and coffee shops are already offering a discount to customers if they come into the store with their own reusable cup. For example, Pret a Manger recently announced that it would be doubling its discount to 50p so people will be more inclined to produce less waste.

Commenting on the Starbucks 5p charge news, Hubbub’s co-founder Gavin Ellis noted that early chats with customers show that there is indeed a heightened awareness surrounding the need to reduce single-use cup waste. And previous studies have found that adding a charge on such cups is more effective than offering money off a reusable one.

He went on to say that the company is now looking forward to working with Starbucks to see what else will encourage people to make better use of reusable cups in the future.

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