Climate Action

Boston Tea Party chain bans all single-use coffee cups

An independent coffee chain has taken the bold step and banned all disposable coffee cups from its cafes.

  • 25 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

An independent coffee chain has taken the bold step and banned all disposable coffee cups from its cafes.

Boston Tea Party, an independently owned British business runs 22 cafes, mostly in the south of England.

The company’s owner, Sam Roberts, made the announcement in a blog this week, commenting that “the simple, unavoidable truth is that the only truly ethically solution is a reusable cup instead of a single use one.”

From 1st June, customers wanting to order a hot drink in one of its cafes must either bring their own cup, buy one there and then, or pay a deposit which can be immediately returned. Boston’s reusable cups will now be sold at a subsidised rate.

“We want to demonstrate to other operators that to make a difference, big change is needed. We will make this work and we’ll share details of how we’ve done it with anyone who wants our help to do the same,” he added.

The chain has already responded to increased public awareness on waste by removing plastic straws and switching to glass bottles.

It is thought to be the first in the country to make such an outright ban on cups, although the supermarket Waitrose is trialling a similar scheme this year.

Other popular coffee outlets in the UK are also implementing ways to reduce plastic and paper waste. Pret A Manger launched its own deposit return scheme earlier this month and also offers customers a 50p discount in reusable cups. Costa Coffee is pledging to up the ante even further by paying waste collectors to recycle 500 million paper cups by 2020.

“We dream of a future where our children marvel at the fact that pre 2018 we would regularly use a cup once and throw it away. The discarded cup could then take centuries to decompose. When you consider it in those terms, it really is senseless,” Roberts concluded.