Boosting the use of reusable cups

The UK gets through nearly 3 billion coffee cups every year – and most of these cups are landfilled or incinerated. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes them able to hold our precious caffeine fix without dissolving like newspaper in the rain is what stops them from being widely recycled. Each cup is made from a sturdy combination of cardboard and plastic – and many recycling plants are unable to separate these materials. That means if you put your coffee cup in a normal recycling bin, the likelihood is, it won’t get recycled.

We’re attempting to make cup recycling more achievable through 'The Cup Fund', a UK-wide scheme that has allowed for the implementation of bespoke coffee cup recycling bins in 12 different locations. This fund, supported by Starbucks, will collect around 35 million coffee cups over the next year. But if we can’t always recycle our cups effectively, how can we have hot drinks on-the-go more sustainably?  

Choose to reuse

Our latest reuse campaign, Grab Your Cup, is being implemented in Manchester city centre for four weeks in January 2020. Well be promoting the use of reusable cups with a radio jingle created by none other than Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, backed up by a stickering campaign in coffee shops in the city centre and an eye-catching, custom-made reusable cup mascot. Listen below!

After undertaking research earlier this year, it was revealed that despite 69% of people owning a reusable cup, only 1 in 6 use them every time they buy a hot drink. If you already have a cup, the most sustainable option is to remember to bring it with you when you leave the house. The ear-wormy jingle we’ve developed with Huey will be primed on radio stations and streaming platforms that people engage with first thing  reminding them to grab their cup before they head out for the day.  

We want to get rid of any stigma around bringing your own cup – we discovered that for many people, asking for their drink in a reusable can cause feelings of discomfort. Customers often feel embarrassed asking baristas to wash their cup, or awkward asking for their drink in a reusable branded with another retailer’s logo. The Grab Your Cup campaign aims to iron out these anxieties and ensure people that no matter what brand, style or size – their cup is welcome in store.   

a guide to switching to a reusable cup

Get involved

In this campaign, we're joining forces to tackle waste. We’re working with Starbucks, Caffé Nero, Greggs, Costa, McDonald’s and some independent retailers as well as City Council and The Greater Manchester Combined Authority to remind people to 'Grab Your Cup'. The jingle will be aired on both Hits Radio Manchester and Radio X.  

We hope that as more people become comfortable with bringing a reusable, this will nudge a greater behaviour change in the public. If you’d like to get involved and join the #GrabYourCup movement, remember your reusable cup and tag us with #GrabYourCup on Instagram!

If you’re a coffee retailer based in Manchester city centre and you’d like to get involved in the campaign, get in touch below and we can arrange to have in-store stickers and table talkers delivered.  

JOIN THE MANCHESTER CAMPAIGN

This intervention was designed in collaboration with Creatures Of Habit and Glimpse, and is supported by the donations Hubbub receives from the Starbucks 5p cup charge, and our collective aim is to get the use of reusables from 5.6% to 10%.