An independent café chain will ban all single-use coffee cups on 1 June this year, despite the fact that it claims it will lose £1m in sales in doing so.
Boston Tea Party has 21 cafés across the South West and Midlands and will be asking customers to use reusable cups from the start of June.
They will be able to bring in their own cups, use a cup loan scheme at the cafés, or buy a cup in store.
The reusable cups available in stores will be sold at cost, while the company will donate the 10p cost it would have spent on a takeaway cup to local community projects around each café.
The company said the move was a “significant” risk to the business, with takeaway hot drinks accounting for 5.2% of the company’s total turnover of £19.8m.
In July 2016, Boston Tea Party introduced a 25p discount for customers bringing their own cups but the scheme has seen just a 2.8% take up.
Sam Roberts, owner and managing director of Boston Tea Party said: “Lots of coffee chains are making pledges about how they plan to tackle cup waste in the future. But theirs is a future which is too far away. We need to stop right now. I’d stop tomorrow but I think it’s only fair to give our loyal customers and fantastic team a month to get used to the idea.”
The business is basing its decision on claims that only 1 in 400 (0.25%) of the estimated 2.5 billion plastic coated coffee cups used in the UK each year are recycled (according to figures from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee).
Around 4% of cups (approximately 500,000) are littered every day. The rest (95.75%) go into landfill.
Many compostable alternatives also end up in landfill as there aren’t enough accessible facilities in the UK to compost them.
Roberts added: “We want to demonstrate to other operators that to make a difference, big change is needed. We will make this work and we’ll share details of how we’ve done it with anyone who wants our help to do the same.
“We dream of a future where our children marvel at the fact that pre-2018 we would regularly use a cup once and throw it away. The discarded cup could then take centuries to decompose. When you consider it in those terms, it really is senseless.”