It seems to be that [reusable cups] are the best solution if we can get to that. — Caroline Lucas
In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups every year.
These coffee cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper lined with plastic and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined coffee cups cannot be recycled and contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution.
Contrary to what Caroline Lucas has claimed, reusable coffee cups are not the answer.
I have yet to be in a coffee shop and seen a reusable cup sold, let alone used. When I have inquired, I have been told take up is minimal, even when a substantial discount is on offer.
There is also as James Hoffman has drawn attention to, a hygiene problem if people bring in their own cups to be washed.
Compostable coffee cups of little use, unless a compost heap on which to deposit.
Resusable cups are expensive, bulky, inconvenient to carry around. With the exception of office workers popping out for a coffee to take back to the office and even then only if coupled with a discount, unlikely to have any impact.
Pret a Manger started the New Year with filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of any in-store information, lack of reusable cups on sale, will make little difference. Little more than a PR stunt.
Why are we not seeing any statistics published? I would expect to see a weekly report, to see what impact, if any, in reducing the use of plastic-lined takeaway cups.
Without seeing any results from Pret a Manger SumofUs have launched a petition asking that Costa follow suit.
This is tinkering at the edges, addressing the symptoms not the underlying problem.
The underlying problem is the grab it and go consumerist culture, encouraged by chains like Costa and Pret a Manger, it is what their businesses model is built on.
What we should be doing is encouraging relax with a cup of speciality coffee served from glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. Only then are we gong to reduce the plastic pollution.
We should also be pushing for the introduction of a 25p latte levy at the next Budget.