Coffee: #NoExcuseforSingleUse

Six months ago I wrote about one of my favourite coffee shops in Bristol: Boston Tea Party.

My post was about their brave decision to stop using disposable cups. From the 1st June 2018 they would only serve takeaway drinks in reusable cups.

I’ve continued to enjoy coffee (and breakfast, they do great poached eggs) at BTP. I’ve got 2 or 3 reusable cups and always try to keep one on me.

I don’t find it a problem at all and I feel happy doing my bit for the environment. 🙂

It also means that if I want a takeaway from another coffee shop I can use my cup there too.

I’ve overheard some of the conversations between the BTP barista and customers who don’t know the cup rules. It’s quite interesting. The barista quietly explains that they don’t use disposable cups and that the customer can either buy a cup to keep, or pay for a loan cup.

Not everyone is happy with being told that they can’t have a takeaway cup. There are lots of signs in the cafe but it still seems to come as a surprise to some people. The BTP staff seem to take this in their stride and if things get a bit heated it’s more likely to be a regular BTP customer defending the principle!

Most people, surely, are reasonable and see that the motive is a good one. Buy a cup or move on…

It’s still early days, but I wonder, what impact has it had on BTP’s turnover and profits? Because if it’s working, then surely there’s an argument for other coffee shops doing the same?

I found this article written by Francois Badenhorst in August when he interviewed BTP’s finance director, Shelley Wadey. She told Francois that worst case scenario, it would be a 5% dip in revenue, around £1 million.

“We’ve put our neck on the line,” Wadey said. “Customers want to do the right thing – but they’re constantly issued with a choice. And they choose single use plastic because it’s easy for them. But once the choice is taken away, it’s easier to make a good decision.”

In addition, BTP  is also helping local charities. In Bristol it’s a children’s charity, Community of Purpose.

You can read more about BTP’s cup ban here