Waitrose to remove disposable coffee cups from stores by autumn
Waitrose has ramped up its efforts to tackle plastic waste with a pledge to remove all disposable coffee cups from its shops before the end of 2018.
The removal of disposable cups will initially take place in nine branches from 30 April before a full rollout by the autumn. It is estimated that the move will save more than 52 million cups a year.
Members of the myWaitrose loyalty scheme will be asked to bring their own reusable cup in order to continue receiving the option of a free tea or coffee from their store’s self-serve machine.
Waitrose’s head of sustainability and responsible sourcing 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.”
To avoid increased pressure on hospitality areas, loyalty card customers will no longer be able to claim their free hot drinks in Waitrose’s 180 in-store cafés. Instead, members who purchase a tea or coffee in a café will be offered a choice of food options for free or with a discount.
The initial tests will take place in Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wyondham, Upminster and Fitzroy Street, Cambridge.
Environmental charity Hubbub’s chief executive Trewin Restorick said: “This is a bold move by Waitrose that should be applauded. It is great to see a major retailer taking decisive action to cut waste in such a high-profile part of their business.”
The grocery chain has taken big steps to reduce its environmental impact in recent times. Last week, Waitrose built on a commitment to stop selling packs of single-use plastics straws, by replacing all plastic straws used in its onsite cafes with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper alternatives.
It has also pledged not to sell any own-label food in black plastic beyond 2019, and to make all own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025.
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