Waitrose this morning pledged its commitment to removing all takeaway disposable coffee cups from its shops by autumn 2018, saving more than 52 million cups a year.
Members of the supermarket’s loyalty scheme, myWaitrose, will continue to have the option to enjoy a free tea or coffee from their shop’s self-serve machine as a thank you for shopping with them.
In the coming weeks though they will be asked to bring their own reusable cup to use rather than being offered a disposable coffee cup when they go through the checkout.
Waitrose will initially remove disposable cups in nine branches* from 30 April to understand how to manage the changeover as smoothly as possible for customers before rolling it out across all stores in a phased programme by the autumn. Customers will be informed before the change comes into effect in their local shop.
Removing the cups further underlines the supermarket’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment and its use of plastics and packaging.
It recently pledged to not sell any own label food in black plastic beyond 2019 – an earlier date than any other supermarket. It has also committed to make all own-label packaging widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable 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.”
As part of today’s announcement, myWaitrose members will no longer be able to claim their free hot drink in its 180 in-store cafes. This is to avoid customers without a reusable cup (and therefore unable to use the self serve machines) putting increased pressure on its hospitality areas.
Instead, myWaitrose members who purchase a tea or coffee in a cafe will be offered a choice of food options to enjoy for free or with a generous discount.
These will vary each month, but for the first month myWaitrose members will be able to choose from either soup, bircher muesli, almond croissant or a loaf cake slice to have for free with their beverage.
Additionally, Waitrose has invested in training 800 ‘Food Service Partners’ as baristas, to give an even better hospitality service in its cafes.
These changes to its cafe service will also first be made from 30 April in eight of the same shops where disposable cups will be initially removed before taking effect in all branches with hospitality areas from 23 May.