Waitrose has become the first retailer to announce a ban on disposable coffee cups as pressure rises to reduce the 2.5 billion thrown away by Brits each year.
The cups, almost none of which are recycled due to the nature of their plastic lining, will be removed from stores by the autumn, with customers asked to bring reusable containers.
The move, which will be introduced in nine branches from 30 April, will stop the 52 million cups used by the supermarket’s customers each year ending up in landfill.
Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose, 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.”
The ban will be introduced in Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster and Fitzroy Street in Cambridge at the end of this week.
Earlier this year government ministers rejected suggestions for a ‘latte levy’ to be added to the price of every beverage sold in a disposable cup, although coffee giant Starbucks trialled a 5p charge in 25 of its London stores in February.
Many coffee retailers, including Pret A Manger, Costa and Starbucks, have discount schemes for customers with reusable mugs.