Ecoffee Cup CEO Stirred By War On Waste Campaign
Following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's BBC News Viewpoint piece on coffee-cup waste, and the airing of Episode 3 of his War on Waste series, David McLagan, founder & CEO of revolutionary new reusable and biodegradable coffee cup brand Ecoffee Cup, pitches in to emphasise the need to focus on changing consumer behaviour rather than holding out for the big coffee corporations to effect change.
“In his War on Waste campaign, Hugh estimates that 2.5 billion single-use cups per year go to landfill in the UK, but the problem is much bigger when we look beyond Britain," McLagan says.
With estimates of up to half a trillion manufactured globally, over 100 billion single-use cups go to landfill each year. Starbucks, in the US alone, serves 8,000 cups per minute, he explains.
"This is not a new issue. We have been talking about it for almost a decade.
"Unfortunately, no one can (or will be inclined to) disclose exactly how many cups are manufactured per year. The major culprits, the big coffee-shop chains, are particularly sheepish."
Single-use cups make up a major component of their consumer offering and are entrenched in their business model.
"It's difficult for them to change their behaviour unless they are forced to. They also claim that alternative cup options affect the 'perfect coffee experience', so, sadly, reusables don't meet their business criteria."
Due to the volumes produced, single-use cups are cheap and make up a miniscule percentage of the cost of a cup of coffee, which means a change to something more sustainable will impact on profits, and shareholders are averse to anything that does that.
"Separation and non-contamination of recycling is the key, and unless facilities exist, it will be very difficult to ensure such separation occurs, especially when dealing with cups that are taken off premises. Instead, and as is the current reality, cups will simply end up in general waste."
In order to have any impact at all, businesses need to invest in special facilities – dedicated bins, dedicated waste recovery, dedicated recycling facilities – and pool resources to do it.
"Unfortunately, we can't see this happening any time soon," McLagan added.
So rather than focusing on the recycling of single-use cups, it's behaviour that needs to change.
"Sadly, within two decades, we have become a single-use, plastic society. We're all a bit lazy. We feel it's difficult to avoid plastic, difficult to avoid single use.
"No one is apportioning blame, and preaching is counterproductive, but like single-use plastic bottles, and more recently, plastic bags, it's evident that it's not that hard to change a few little things to help make a big difference. Reusable coffee cups are the way forward."
David McLagan founded Ecoffee Cup in 2013. Made from biodegradable bamboo fibre and available in a wide range of stylish designs, Ecoffee Cup is light, practical and resealable, for easy storage in bags.
With a number of businesses offering discounts for those using reusable cups, it also saves money for the coffee-consuming public.
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