| US

Blue Bottle Coffee targets 'zero-waste' across US stores by 2020

Nestlé-backed boutique coffee chain intends to divert at least 90% of all waste from its US cafés from landfill by the end of 2020

Blue Bottle will trial a cup loan scheme and reduced retail coffee packaging across selected San Fransisco stores | Photo via Flickr  

In an open letter Blue Bottle acknowledged many of the 12 million single-use cups it dispenses in the US every year were still ending up in landfill, despite being fully compostable.

To combat the problem, the chain, which has around 64 US stores, 16 in Japan and four in South Korea, said it will test the zero-single-use-cup programme at selected San Francisco stores as part of efforts to virtually eliminate single-use utensil and packaging waste across its entire US portfolio.

This trial will involve a reusable cup loan scheme where a small deposit is paid for cups which can be returned and cleaned in-store. Grab-and-go food items will be available in reusable containers while whole-bean coffees will be retailed in bulk to reduce packaging waste, the firm has said.

“We’re not afraid to admit that we’re part of the problem… We want to show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups as we serve our delicious coffee,” wrote the company’s CEO Bryan Meehan.

World Coffee Portal research indicates growing willingness among US coffee shop consumers to recycle or re-use takeaway cups. 62% of those surveyed would be motivated to use a reusable coffee cup in-store if given a price discount or extra loyalty points. Just 11% indicated on-premises cup washing facilities would compel them to do so.

To achieve its 2020 target Blue Bottle will abide by the Zero Waste International Alliance definition, which states at least 90% of waste will need to be diverted from its US stores by the end of 2020.

The announcement comes shortly after Blue Bottle’s parent company, Nestlé, which acquired a majority stake in the coffee chain in 2017, announced it will make all its packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025.

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