One of the major perks of being a Waitrose loyalty card holder is going to change this autumn, it has been announced. The supermarket plans to remove all disposable coffee cups from its stores over the coming months as part of a plan to reduce packaging and plastic waste, meaning members of the myWaitrose scheme will only be able to collect their complimentary tea or coffee if they bring a reusable cup.
Waitrose plans to trial the initiative in nine stores from 30 April, before rolling it out nationwide later this year. The first nine stores to see disposable cups removed are Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster and Fitzroy Street, Cambridge.
Waitrose plans to remove all disposable coffee cups from stores by autumn
The changes will save more than 52 million cups a year, according to the retailer. 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."
The changes come as the government considers implementing a "latte levy", which would bring a charge on using disposable coffee cups. Action is being considered after our takeaway coffee habit has hit an all-time high, with some 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups used each year in the UK, creating an estimated 25,000 tonnes of waste.
Waitrose says the initiative will save more than 52 million cups a year
A number of other coffee chains are now offering discounts to customers who bring in their own reusable cups, including Starbucks, Costa and Pret-a-Manger, who now give customers 50p off their hot drinks in a bid to change people's habits and reduce waste.