| UK

Boston Tea Party reveals impact of disposable cup ban

Coffee shop chain reports an estimated 17,500 cups diverted from landfill during first month of the initiative – but takeaway sales fall 24%

Since banning disposable coffee cups on June 1, Boston Tea Party says it has sold 7,500 reusable cups across its 22 UK stores.

In April 2018, the coffee chain became the first in the UK to announce the removal disposable cups from its stores. Takeaway sales make up approximately 5% of the company’s £19.8m turnover, with Managing Director, Sam Roberts then acknowledging the firm could take a hit of up to £1m in lost revenues.

Commenting on a 24% decline in takeaway sales since the ban came into a effect a month ago, Roberts remained upbeat about his company’s positive impact on the environment.

“We always knew we would see a drop in takeaway coffee sales with the ban,” he said.

“Being the first to make the move means if customers choose not to get behind it there are still plenty of competitors using disposable cups. We did this because it’s the right thing to do, not the easy option.”

Customers at the chain have the option to drink their beverages from a china cup in-store, bring their own mug from home, ‘rent’ a reusable cup for a refundable deposit or purchase an ‘Ecoffee’ cup for £4.25.

Roberts added that his firm had been contacted by other coffee shops wanting to learn from Boston Tea Party’s experience.

It remains unclear if a fall in takeaway sales at Boston Tea Party has been offset by increased in-store consumption.

Allegra research identifies convenience as a key factor for coffee shop purchases among UK consumers. While there is growing awareness of plastic waste and willingness to reduce it, coffee shops face an uphill struggle in convincing time-poor customers to alter their consumption habits – especially at the key morning day-part during rush hour.

Boston Tea Party will hold an industry workshop on July 31 to discuss the operational and commercial effects of the ban.
Registered in England. Company No. 8736608
© 2022 World Coffee Portal Ltd.