Coffee Cups

As far as the growing coffee community is concerned, the time has come to take measures to tackle wastage. It’s a campaign that’s been gathering momentum for some time, but never more than when one Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall added his name to the proceedings. He called the whole issue with wastage by the world’s coffee giants nothing short of a recycling scandal and demanded that something be done about it instantly.


Which is precisely why over in Cardiff, one enterprising young coffee retailer has decided to take matters into his own hands. He’s still offering disposable cups to those needing them, but is now also offering generous discounts on each and every cup of coffee for those who bring their reusable cups back with them. Known as the KeepCups, these alternatives to disposable coffee cups are being offered at Jamie Neasom's Coffee Am Byth and the response so far has been outstanding.


It’s simply a case of doing your bit for the environment and being rewarded with cheap coffee for life. Or at least, cheaper than you’d usually pay for it, anyway.


And it’s not as if the cups up for grabs are low-grade generic throwaways either. They’ll cost between £9 and £15 each, which might sound steep but will nonetheless qualify the buyer for up to 20% off their coffee for life. Which means that sooner or later, it pays for itself, you save money and the environment benefits as well. They’re made of ceramics and glass to make sure they keep going for years and look the part too.


Along with a fair few celebrities that have joined the cause, this particular seller is trying to serve as an example to the world’s coffee giants like Costa and Starbucks. In the average year, just three of the main coffee chains combined generate 2.5 billion cups thrown away, of which it was recently revealed that 99% end up in landfill sites, rather than being recycled. It’s a wasteful approach that simply isn’t sustainable, but for the time being it’s coming down to folks like Jamie Neasom to set the right example for the rest of the industry to follow.


Despite the fact that he clearly has the same cause in mind, Jamie said that it wasn’t the TV campaign by Whittingstall that inspired him.

“It sort of happened in parallel with the TV campaign - I was thinking about starting to do this anyway, before I heard about Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s plan.

 “But I always try to be ethical and ecological."

“I see coffee and hot drinks as an opportunity to do good things in the community.”

He said that things really have to change with regard to coming up with an alternative to the standard way of doing things in the big coffee business right now.

 “You have to put the coffee in something, and it’s hard to find cups that are not expensive and are actually recyclable.”

“There are lots of claims made by cup manufacturers about dispensable cups, but the properties in the cup still can’t be broken down.

“At the moment, with disposable cups, the only real way to reduce the harm being done to the environment is to sell less coffee. The challenge is to give a cup to people they will want to use again and bring back.

“The cups are a lovely product in themselves, and I hope people will purchase them.”

 “With a bit of a push, this could reach more people and be a real success.”