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Combating Disposable Coffee Cup Usage
Team Offbeat | 23 Jun

Around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK, that’s around 7 million a day! As a coffee shop owner, you can help minimise the impact this is having on the environment.

Disposable cups are made from a waterproof hard-to-recycle mix of paper and plastic, resulting in 25,000 tonnes of waste being sent to landfill per year in the UK alone. Currently only 1 in every 400 single-use cups are being recycled. You can make a few small adjustments to help reduce the negative effect this is having on our environment.

Environmental Messaging

Adding environmental messaging in your coffee shop can help increase the use of reusable coffee cups. Raising awareness is the first step in getting people to talk about this issue and to rethink the way in which they consume their favourite hot drinks. Clear messaging to remind customers of the negative impact disposable cups are having on the environment, will encourage them to reconsider their consumer habits.

Reusable Alternatives

Giving customers the option of reusable cups, can help to reduce waste. By providing reusable alternatives and making them obvious and readily available, you can encourage a change in customer behaviour. Not only can this have a positive environmental impact, you could also use it as a marketing opportunity, to increase your brand awareness.


Financial incentives such as offering free or discounted reusable cups could help prompt customers to use them. Recent research by Cardiff University has shown that adding a small charge for single-use cups increased the use of reusable cups. Use your position as a coffee shop owner to help provide a solution to the coffee cup waste problem.

By Charlotte Anderson

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