United Kingdom airport experiments with reusable coffee cups to reduce waste

Gatwick airport in the United Kingdom is conducting a trial experiment aimed at reducing paper waste at Starbucks by giving travelers the option of using a reusable cup instead.

There are already other experiments being tried around the globe to reduce waste, such as Belgium’s attempt to replace take-out food containers with reusable containers people can buy and bring to restaurants to put their food in instead of contributing to the amount of paper and plastic garbage our world is producing.

In addition, many companies offer metal containers for water that can be used over and over again so that we don’t have to buy a plastic bottle of water that will end up in a landfill or killing wildlife in the ocean.

Around the world, people love drinking coffee as much as they drink water, so it only makes sense that we would try using reusable cups for coffee as well.

And that’s exactly what Gatwick is doing in the United Kingdom by teaming up with Hubbub and Starbucks to bring about change.

According to The Guardian:

An estimated 2.5bn disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year, a large proportion ending up in landfill. At Gatwick, more than 5.3m of the 7m paper cups used each year are already being recycled but Starbucks and Hubbub have identified the potential to increase reusable cup options as well to limit the number of cups used in travel hubs where on-the-go packaging is prevalent.

How it works is simple. People get the option at the counter to order a cup of coffee in a paper or a reusable cup. After drinking your coffee, all you need to do is drop the reusable cup off at a designated point prior to getting on your flight. The cup is then washed and then put back in service the next time a customer orders coffee in a reusable cup.

The same cups are used over and over again, which means we are saving the use of paper resources for more important things, and helping to save trees, too, an effort that’s even more important as deforestation continues to rise.

This same method could be applied everywhere in an effort to reduce both paper and plastic waste, an effort that has become very important to the population.

“We know people care about waste, but it’s often hard to do the right thing when traveling” Hubbub co-founder Trewin Restorick said. “We want to find out whether people will get on board with reusing cups, if we make it easy and convenient. The airport is the ideal environment to trial a reusable cup scheme as it has the potential to reduce large volumes of paper cup waste.”

Gatwick sustainability lead Rachel Thompson agrees.

“There is strong public support for measures to reduce waste and we are delighted to support a retailer with an innovation that can help travelers do that,” she said.

It’s not like humanity has never experienced the use of reusable cups and containers before.Prior to the advent of paper and plastic cups and containers, people did supply their own cups and containers or used the cups and containers offered by a restaurant to dine out. But people don’t have time these days to sit in an establishment and drink their coffee or eat their food, which is why it’s such a good idea for them to be offered reusable cups and containers that can be returned and used again. Let’s just hope people adhere to the honor system instead of taking the cups home with them.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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