Push for reusable cups could save 150m a year

Environmental charity Hubbub wants to double the uptake of reusable cups for hot drinks under an initiative built using funds collected from Starbucks’ 5p charge on paper cups across its stores nationwide.

Currently 3 billion paper cups are used every year in the UK and it’s estimated that less than 5 per cent of all hot drinks are sold to people bringing a reusable cup. Efforts to increase this figure have seen Starbucks shift sales in reusable cups from 2.2 per cent two years ago to 5 per cent, but Hubbub plans to work with major retailers and independent coffee shops to raise this to 10 per cent of all sales, which would see a reduction of at least 150 million paper cups a year.

Research released today by Hubbub found that Britons buy an average of 4 take away hot drinks each week, with 1 in 5 buying at least one a day. The research also found that over two-thirds (69 per cent) of people have their own reusable coffee cup but only 1 in 6 say they remember to use them every time they buy a hot drink. The most common reason for this gap in reusable cup usage is consumers forgetting to take their cup with them when they leave home in the morning. Hubbub also found that the number of people using reusable cups drops off during the day as people feel uncomfortable asking retail outlets to wash their cups and refill them.

Hubbub will be running a range of innovative behaviour change campaigns throughout 2020 to shift this, starting with the Grab Your Cup campaign kicking off in Manchester with an ‘ear worm’ jingle reminding them to leave home with their reusable cup played on radio stations, Spotify and YouTube, created by Fun Lovin’ Criminals front man, producer, BBC Radio 2 and 6 DJ Huey Morgan.

Haley Drage vice president, public affairs, Starbucks EMEA said: “We’re proud to continue our work with Hubbub trialling out of store waste management solutions and raising awareness of the benefits of reuse. The Grab Your Cup campaign in Manchester is a unique way to encourage people to always carry their reusables whilst on-the-go and addresses on of the key barriers to more customer adoption. We are excited to try something new and see the kind of impact that it can have”

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