Coffee shops and takeaway cups

Saw this fantastic statement from an independent business in Wales today, and it made me wonder if other such shops are taking a similar stance.

Both they and another local shop were selling reusable cups.

Can even be unique.


Hmm. Whilst I applaud them for encouraging cup reuse, it is not always a practical proposition. I don’t understand why more shops don’t just use biodegradable cups.


Wow. What a great stance for this shop to take. I’ve got two reusable cups; one at work and one at home and now I’ve got them I can’t buy a coffee unless I have one. I think it’s an easy change for people to make and would have a big impact on the environment. It works for me but appreciate it may not for others. But I do thing soon it’ll be a social taboo to have a plastic water bottle or disposable coffee cup.

Brands like keepcup or frankgreen do really lovely designs and the drinking experience is actually nicer from a keepcup than a disposable I find.


This is the issue for me. I don’t carry a bag around with me, so I have no way of storing the cup.

I think biodegradable cups are a better idea. I don’t mind paying a bit more for my coffee if required.


Might be wrong, but i’m pretty sure the reason is manufacturers struggle to make coffee cups biodegradable. Something about the waterproof membrane coating the paper cup. It’s difficult to separate the two in the recycling process.


Maybe one of the answers is to also cut our consumption of coffee on the go. Or for you to start carrying a bag. I don’t mean that flippantly. We have to change our behaviours.


There are compostable coffee cups available, which are different in structure to the disposable cups that we see every day. I am not sure if the compostable cups (walls lined with plant-based PLA rather than plastic) are recyclable, but it would be a step in the right direction for the coffee shops.

I’m sure that high street coffee shops will miraculously find a solution to the current disposable coffee cups soon if their margins are squeezed.

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Genuine question: If we throw a compostable cup in landfill is the planet actually any better off than if we throw a standard one in? If so, why?

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article from @anon5422159 states

Sometimes, even banana peels don’t decompose once they reach the landfill. For sanitary reasons, modern landfills are lined on the bottom with clay and plastic to keep waste from escaping into the soil and are covered daily with a layer of earth to reduce odor. The landfill, then, acts like a trash tomb—the garbage within receives little air, water, or sunlight. This means that even readily degradable waste objects, including paper and food scraps, are more likely to [mummify]

My interpretation of your answer is that, in landfill (alongside tons of 1000 year plastic), it’s not going to make much difference, and they would be much better kept out of it.

Here is a photo of a man demonstrating how it won’t fit in his jeans pocket.



Interesting points on both sides I have to say. It is amazing how quickly we learned to carry bags with us when they started charging for carry out bags, hopefully the same can happen, and other small businesses can take up the challenge too.
I realise of course that it can be damaging to a business too.

The whole pay more for the convenience of the situation is similar to the ULEZ… It doesn’t actually fix the problem, it just taxes it. Which on certain issues is fine, on others less so.

Heaven knows what the answer to the situation is, but I for one was impressed with this stance.

Funny you should mention coffee grounds…

Interesting use for them, also in the same shop.

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Not necessarily comparable, but the “pay more for the convenience” strategy has made a huge difference to plastic bag waste - even with a charge of just 5p:

Indeed, as I said.
We CAN change our behaviour when it suits us.
The difference here is less people are using them, and more people take bags to the shops with them.

Could the coffee (tea) and water markets see a change too, with people carrying a container with them, saving them 10p on a coffee, or getting free water top ups whenever needed.

Can I ask why? I can’t think of any day-to-day situation where I couldn’t carry a bag.

Also, there is no such thing as a man-bag. They are just bags.


I would say for a lot of consumers, carrying a bag is a daily thing. Especially the commuters. Backpacks, messenger bags etc galore.

There are of course always times when you will be unprepared, just as with the supermarket carrier bags, and for those times there is a chargeable provision.

But there is definitely scope for some progress on this matter. Could the commuters lead the charge.

Also worth noting that the silicone feeling cup lid also seals a lot better and becomes less of a spill hazard.

Just need someone or something to make them trendy and must have.

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While it may seem easy to compare plastic bags to disposable cups, I don’t buy it.

On the odd occasion I’m in a grocery store and don’t have a reusable/cloth bag, or have enough bags (there was a sale on tinned tomatoes) my penalty is 5p.

If I fancy a coffee to take into the park at lunch and forgot my reusable cup, at that Welsh business my penalty would be around ÂŁ10.

ETA to add I have a reusable cup. Here it is. I also have a bag I use for work. The bulky reusable cup doesn’t always fit when my work bag is full of paperwork and electronics. Sometimes, the top comes off and next thing I know there’s remnants of coffee.

And when I’m not at work I can’t think why, unless necessary I would want to carry a bag. I have pockets.

My issue with this is the removal of choice.


No mate, not the comparison to be made really. You can buy a hessian bag for life for ÂŁ10, or if you forget it, pay the penalty and buy a 5p bag.

Same applies to the grand scheme of things for the coffee shops. The Alpine Lodge is taking a very strong stand, but it’s not the only way to go.
Maybe it was a bad example to use.

I would say the right way to go is the same as the supermarket, have a single use option, but simply discourage people from using it.

I agree their approach is too draconian. They could still offer the reusable cup, but for the 10p penalty.

Of course, a cup of coffee is not an essential, and you could just forgo the drink if you forget your cup.