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UK Retailer Waitrose To Eliminate Disposable Cups In-Store

Published on Apr 10 2018 1:30 PM in Retail tagged: Trending Posts / Waitrose / Disposable Cups

UK Retailer Waitrose To Eliminate Disposable Cups In-Store

UK retailer Waitrose has announced that it will be eliminating disposable cups in-store by this autumn.

From 30 April, Waitrose will remove disposable cups from nine branches as part of a trial to ensure it is rolled out smoothly in a phased programme by the autumn. This move will prevent more than 52 million cups from being binned.

The disposable cup elimination scheme will be rolled out in the following stores: Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster, Fitzroy Street, Cambridge (little Waitrose).

This move is part of Waitrose's commitment to improving its environmental footprint and reducing use of plastics and packaging, the company said. Waitrose recently committed to eliminating black plastic from any own-label brands by 2019. It also pledged to make all private label packaging widely recyclable, reusable, or compostable (at home) by 2025.

Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose, said, “We realise this is a major change, but we believe removing all takeaway disposable cups is the right thing to do for our business and are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits. It underlines our commitment to plastic and packaging reduction and our aim is to deliver this as quickly as possible.”

It's not the only retailer to make such a move - discounter Aldi Süd began to offer reusable and environmentally-friendly bamboo coffee cups for use at its in-house coffee machine in February, to allow customers to actively work to curb plastic waste. Shoppers who bring reusable cups get up to 20% more of their preferred hot beverage.

Impacts On myWaitrose Members

The change will affect members of the myWaitrose loyalty scheme, who can avail of a free tea or coffee from the in-store cafe or self-serve machine as part of their membership.

Participating customers will continue to be offered that perk, but will be required to bring their own reusable cup rather than being offered a disposable cup at the checkout in order to use the self-serve machine.

Members will also be unable to claim their customary free hot drink in Waitrose’s in-store cafes without a reusable cup. Instead, there will be free or discounted food items, which will vary monthly, available for those who purchase a tea or coffee in a cafe with a reusable cup.

Martin Lane, the managing editor of, commented on the change, "This move may cause a mild inconvenience to some loyal Waitrose customers, but it's a really positive change for the retailer to be more environmentally friendly and boost awareness of our planets plastic problem.

"This infamous freebie has become a firm favourite within stores, but now you'll have to remember to bring your own container or thermos with you. Paying customers can still get free tea and coffee so long as they buy something and bring their own cup.

"All in all this is a bold but necessary move from Waitrose."

New Barista Experience

Waitrose will also train 800 of their 'food service partners' as baristas in order to provide an improved cafe experience. The coffees on offer will also be transformed, as they will be made with fair-trade and organic 100% Arabica coffee beans in the future.

The retailer will be trialling this change in tandem with eliminating disposable cups in the nine pilot stores, although the Fitzroy Street, Cambridge location will not be affected as it does not have a cafe in-store.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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