Coffee Cups – What a waste!

The coffee shop culture seems to be booming in the UK. Most of my friends seem to have a favourite coffee shop, they buy from a specific chain as it suits their needs. I guess it’s no different to selecting the supermarket you shop at, you get used to what’s on offer, the prices, the appearance. But, there’s something which really puzzles me. The excitement when a “Limited edition” takeaway cup comes out.


The problem with most coffee cups, is they end up in landfill. Most are made from materials which can’t be recycled – the plastic lids being the prime problem!

A friend who always has a takeaway cup, even when she’s “drinking in” explained why she continued to use disposable cups;

“I choose a takeaway cup as it means if I get a call and need to dash, I can grab the coffee and go. I like having a takeaway cup too, as it is a bit like going shopping and getting a nice fancy bag from the shop! I would buy a refillable cup. But, I think I’d feel awkward asking the barista to use that instead of their cups?”

Whose problem is it anyway?!

I can’t help but wonder if the coffee shops could do more to encourage the use of refillable coffee cups? There are at least two coffee shop giants who offer small incentives to those choosing to use refillable cups. But the incentives feel small and under promoted. But, of course, the reality is the coffee shops want the heavily branded takeaway cups. It provides invaluable advertising. So, why then are they not being forced to invest in cups which are biodegradable? I was pleased to see the National Trust have disposable cups and importantly lids – which are biodegradable. The cup looks just like any other takeaway coffee cup, it kept the coffee hot, but it also won’t add to the mountain of coffee cups in landfill.


Coffee Cup Tax

It’s been suggested that a tax on take away coffee cups should be imposed, like the plastic bag 5p tax. Most people are now quite used to carrying their own bags when they go out shopping. I think a tax on disposable coffee cups would encourage coffee shops to promote using a reusable cup. And, perhaps also encourage consumers to remember to bring their own to save pennies?