Office Waste Management: How to Reduce Your Coffee Cup Waste

With 95 million cups of coffee being consumed in Britain a day, there is no doubt that the U.K. loves it’s hot drinks. However, Britain’s love affair with coffee does come at a cost for the environment as the common coffee cup cannot be recycled, contributing to the 8 million pieces of plastic find their way into the ocean every day.

And as you might have guessed, offices and office workers are contributing to this disturbing trend.

Office worker waste info
Image credit: RoadRunner

Reducing the levels of pollution is vital for the survival of our planet and any effort to do so is a great place to start in our books. If you are in the food and drinks industry, you are in a great position to do your bit and being your campaign on reducing pollution simply by reducing your coffee cup waste.

In aid of this, we have put together some ideas that can help your business reduce its contribution to our throw away culture and reduce coffee cup wastage.

Sell Reusable Coffee Cups

Reducing your coffee cup waste does not have to be a fruitless venture. Everyone knows that mornings can be stressful and squeezed into a small time period, often resulting in the morning coffee at home having to be dropped. Selling reusable coffee cups is a great way to encourage your customers-in-a-rush to avoid the disposable cup option and secure a high priced sale. Customers are often creatures of habit and a customer that buys a reusable coffee cup is likely to return to your business for their morning caffeine fix.

Selling reusable coffee cups is also a great marketing opportunity to advertise and express your companies eco-ethos and show customers that buying from you can be their way of doing their bit for the environment. Companies like Vistaprint handily offer the opportunity to personalise cups with your business’ logo and your brand exposure. You can sell them at your point of sale and make a little extra money on the side.

Why not also keep a record of how many people have bought your reusable coffee cups and avoided the number going to landfill? This can entice customers to join the green revolution and ditch their disposable coffee cup!

Encourage Your Customers to Stay

Though you are always going to get customers who are in a rush, there are still a steady number of people who enjoy having a quiet coffee at lunch, or meeting friends for a catch up. In order to increase the number of drink-in customers, it is important to create a hospitable environment such as comfortable seating, wifi and luxurious mugs. This will help deplete the number of take away drinkers and reduce coffee cup wastage while still maintaining footfall.

This also provides you with another simple marketing opportunity: the busier your cafe, the more credible and popular your establishment appears, which should encourage passers by to walk in and boost your sales.

Update Your Recycling Policy

So, you’ve done all you can to convince your customers to stay or use reusable cups. But what about those who still want a takeaway cup?

Once you have done all you can to convince customers to stay and enjoy their coffee in house, it’s now time to focus on those who are dedicated to take-away coffee cup culture.

Veolia, a unique service for U.K. businesses, may just be the perfect solution for helping reduce waste from those stubborn take-away coffee cup drinkers. The leader in environmental solutions provides a specially designed bin, a personalised courier service to collect the waste and a system to double check that everything’s been done correctly. The coffee cups are then sent to one of the few recycling facilities in the UK that can separate the plastic from the rest of the cup for correct processing.

Of course, cups that don’t need specialist recycling may soon be widely available. Most conventional takeout cups are hard to recycle because they have a waterproof plastic layer that’s fused onto the cardboard cup. One company, however, is looking to turn things on their head. Frugalpac has created the Frugal Cup, which has an easily-removable plastic insert meaning that the cup can be recycled pretty much anywhere. They’re in talks with a number of coffee retailers — you may be placing an order before you know it.

Various coffee in reusable mugs

Think Beyond the Coffee Cup

Coffee cups do have a bad reputation as being the main polluter, but there are a range of other products that are also sold in coffee shops that add to the issue.

For example, water bottles are also a significant polluter and with a million plastic bottles sold every minute, they are said to be as dangerous as climate change. Cutting down on the number of plastic bottles does not have to be a difficult task. Providing a free jug of water that your customer can help themselves to will provide an alternative solution for your customers to quench their thirst. Adding slices of fruit to the water will create a more up-market vibe.

Plastic cutlery can also be replaced by their more environmentally friendly counterparts such as stainless steel or recyclable alternatives made out of wood. As for plastic straws, they can be fully removed from your shelves and replaced with paper, steel or bamboo ones.

Keeping paper napkins behind the counter to reduce mindless consumption and ditch plastic bags for paper ones — as with reusable coffee cups, using personalised ones is a great marketing opportunity. We like the Paper Bag Company’s eco-credentials and choice of designs.

Keeping napkins behind the counter and only handing out one per order will reduce the mindless throwing away of barely used napkins. Replace plastic bags with paper bags for that extra push to becoming an fully eco-friendly business.

Social media is now one the most effective ways to reach your customers and market your business. Use your cafe’s social media pages to create a buzz around your recycling journey and encourage others to do the same! Check out fitspo Zanna van Dijk, who’s passionate about reducing plastic waste, for serious Instagram activism inspiration.

Building a relationship with your customers is important regardless of your business. A great way to make this relationship stronger is to provide personalised reusable cups stamped with your business logo, which they can show off to the world. Thereby ensuring maximum brand exposure.

Remember to let your social media followers aware of your eco-conscious initiatives on Facebook and Instagram.