Joining in with the movement against non-recyclable materials, Waitrose has put together plans to remove takeaway coffee cups from all its shops across the UK, including those given free with a purchase.
This follows the supermarket’s promise to not sell any of its own-brand food in black plastic after 2019 and making all its own-brand packaging widely recyclable by 2025.
Tor Harris, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing at Waitrose, says: “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.”
As of the 30th of April, takeaway cups have been removed from nine stores around the UK, including Newmarket, Sudbury and Banbury, and customers are no longer able to claim their free coffee in any of the supermarket’s cafes. Waitrose hopes to phase the cups out from all branches by the 23rd of May.
Feedback from shoppers has been largely positive, with many praising the supermarket’s move towards sustainability.
“I’ve been using a re-usable cup for the last couple of years and sadly have rarely seen anyone else with one,” says Jane, a frequent Waitrose customer.
“I do think that people are keen to reduce their rubbish footprint but it will probably take a few more companies to take the plunge and force customers to commit to changing our habits since we’re inherently too lazy to do it by ourselves.”
Only a year after Waitrose introduced free coffee to the myWaitrose scheme, it became the 2nd biggest seller of coffee in the UK, providing over 1 million cups and costing the supermarket around £150,000 every week.
Other customers have expressed concern over the changes:
“I don’t want to walk around with a cup everywhere,” another Waitrose shopper told TruthFal. “They should use more recyclable materials instead – the technology is there.”
According to the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, approximately 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away annually in the UK. Due to the disposable cups’ plastic lining, very few of these are recycled. Waitrose believes that by phasing out their disposable cups this number could be reduced by up to 52 million.