Waitrose has announced plans to end the use of disposable coffee cups from its shops in a bid to reduce plastic and packaging waste and stop millions going into landfill.
The grocery retailer expects the removal of disposal coffee cups – which is made of a mixture of paper and plastic and so is hard to recycle – to be implemented by autumn this year.
The retailer said customers on the myWaitrose loyalty scheme can still obtain a free tea or coffee from the stores’ self-service machines but will be instead be asked to use a refillable cup.
From April 30, nine Waitrose stores will remove disposable coffee cups as a trial before it is rolled out nationwide in phases.
These stores are located in Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster in London, and Fitzroy Street in Cambridge.
Waitrose believes more than 52 million cups a year would be saved from landfills.
“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,” Waitrose head of sustainability Tor Harris said.
“It underlines our commitment to plastic and packaging reduction and our aim is to deliver this as quickly as possible.”
Official figures estimate that the UK throws away around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year.
Only one in 400 of those cups manage to be recycled.