Last week, we gave you a little reminder of the benefits of leasing espresso machines with a high group arrangement. Chief among them: making space for the takeaway coffee cup. We also discussed the staggering number of takeaway cups we British get through:
up to two and a half billion a year
99%+ of which end up in landfill.
Most of these disposable coffee cups are tricky to recycle because of their internal plastic lining; it’s hard to separate. Not impossible, mind you. And talking of takeaways, the big takeaway message from the latest episode of Blue Planet II, the BBC’s astonishing, mesmerising, mind-blowing natural world documentary, is that the level of plastic in our oceans is poisoning, strangling and starving wildlife all over the planet. And even if you don’t find it heartbreaking that we’re responsible for the horrible deaths of an inestimable number of marine and land-based animals, consider this: you’re ingesting plastic too. Because all that gradually broken-down plastic being ingested by every level of the marine food chain ends up in our own bodies. It accumulates slowly in our systems.
Not promising. And while it’s not a promise, in this week’s budget, the chancellor of the exchequer announced a review into how tax and charges on single-use plastic items – which could include disposable coffee cups – could work.
It wasn’t the only breaking news regarding coffee cups. Somewhat ironically, a freedom of information request revealed that the UK government’s environment department has bought more than 2.5 million disposable cups over the last five years. That equates to almost 1,400 cups tossed into landfill every day.
The embarrassment cup spilleth over, and tips scalding hot coffee across the nether regions.
If your business sells takeaway coffee – whether it’s through a bean-to-cup coffee machine in your petrol station or shop, or a hand-crafted cappuccino from a gleaming espresso machine, the time is ripe to plan a change. A change, or a charge.
As well as the measures we suggested last week, such as a higher premium for takeaway cups and a discount to encourage regulars to bring their own reusable carry-cups, there’s more you can do.
- Search out fully recyclable coffee cups – start with Vegware, whose cups are completely compostable.
- Sell flasks and refillable coffee cup options (check out Byocup, KeepCup and Joco, for starters) and consider selling glass bottles for drinking water
- Read up on www.simplycups.co.uk and consider talking to your local council, business improvement district (BID) and even other local catering firms and coffee shops to organise coffee cup recycling collections and bins.
- Talk to your local council’s approved waste disposal contractors. Veolia claims to offer a recycling service for plastic-lined coffee cups.