Starbucks has launched the UK’s first airport trial of reusable cups, in a new front in the war on plastic.
The company has joined forces with sustainability experts Hubbub for the scheme at Gatwick Airport.
The trial will offer drop-off points for Starbucks reusable cups throughout the international airport’s south terminal, in a bid to help cut paper cup waste.
Customers at the Starbucks store at the airport will have the option to borrow a free reusable cup for their drink instead of using a paper cup, which they can then drop off at one of five ‘Cup Check-In’ points throughout the airport before they board their flights.
More than 5.3 million of the seven million paper cups used at Gatwick each year are already recycled. The trial aims to put 2,000 reusable Starbucks cups in circulation throughout the south terminal, which Starbucks said could “drastically” reduce the number of paper cups being used each day.
It said if only 250 customers opted for reusable each day, it could see over 7,000 paper cups saved in one month.
“The purpose of working with Hubbub and Gatwick is to help create a new culture of reuse on-the-go, by giving customers the option of a reusable cup instead of paper for free,” said Starbucks UK senior manager of energy and sustainability Jaz Rabadia.
“We are optimistic that the ‘Cup Check-In’ points around the airport will provide enough places for customers to return their cups on the way to their gate, but also recognise it might not for everyone. Our goal is to save 7,000 disposable cups over the course of the month to find out the best ways to drive reuse where it is typically harder to do so - such as airports.”
Hubbub CEO Trewin Restorick added: “We know that people care about waste, but it’s often hard to ‘do the right thing’ when travelling. We want to find out whether people will get on board with reusing cups, if we make it easy and convenient.”