Single use ban FAQ's

Single use ban FAQ's

You’ve probably got a few questions about how a ban on single use coffee cups is going to work. We had plenty ourselves. We’ve answered as many as we can below, but if there’s something we’ve missed, drop us a line


About the change:

What are you doing?
From 1st of June, we are banning single use coffee cups because of the impact they have on the environment. We will be asking customers to use a reusable cup from then on in.

Why are you doing this?
Because we believe it is the only true sustainable option.

How many cups do you give away currently?
Approx. 340,000 takeaway hot drinks a year which is just over £1 million in sales value, 5% of BTP’s turnover.

Why don’t you just recycle them?
Because the nature of a takeaway cup is that it leaves the café and we have no control over where it goes, so often they end up in a general street bin which ends up in landfill.
We believe that recycling single use items is not the answer, we should be aiming to reduce and reuse where possible. The Guardian have put together a great article on the difficulties around recycling.

Coffee cups are recyclable though, aren’t they?
Some are recyclable, however, currently only two facilities in the UK have the provision to recycle these cups. This means that most either end up in landfill or are they burned for fuel. More are coming but we don’t believe promoting single use is the answer.

Several initiatives by coffee chains have been announced to address recycling cups. Isn’t this enough?
Whilst there is lots of research and investment going into the recycling of such cups, it still is encouraging single use and we believe the only truly sustainable option is reuse.

Why haven’t you chosen to switch to compostable cups?
Whilst there are compostable coffee cups available, the process is reliant on users holding onto their cups and taking responsibility to ensure they reach a commercial composting facility. Many of these sites do not accept the cups as they can contaminate food waste so will ultimately end up in landfill too.

Why haven’t you done this sooner/before June 1st?
We want to give our customers and staff time to get used to the idea of the change and make sure everyone is ready.

Which cafe is this happening in?
All 21 BTP Cafes, plus BTP Chichester when it opens in June.


What if I don’t have a reusable cup with me?
You can use our refundable loan scheme to borrow one or reusable cups will be available to buy outright too.

What cups can I buy? How much?
Ecoffee Cups cups will be available to buy (or loan) for the following prices:
• Small – £4.25
• Medium – £4.50
• Large – £4.75
These are priced with both BTP and Ecoffee Cups subsidising the cost. They are non-profit-making items.
We also have a medium sized glass Keep Cup available at £15.

What about takeaway cold drinks?
We have decided to use a plant-based cold cup as it uses 79% less carbon than the plastic alternative. Long-term we will look for a reusable option.

What about takeaway soup/porridge?
These are still able to be taken away, but a reusable mug will be needed.

What about all the left-over cups you will have?
We are hoping that by the time the change happens on the 1st June we will have used up as many as possible, but are also in talks with community projects who can put the cups to good use. If this doesn’t materialise we will take them to be recycled to help demonstrate how difficult that process is!

Why are you taking away the 25p discount for bringing a reusable cup? When will this happen?
This change will mean that all takeaway hot drinks will need to be served in a resuable cup, so therefore we are removing the incentive discount. We needed to be bolder to make this change happen so therefore need to remove the discount. The last day the discount will be valid is 31st May.

Why are you donating 10p to charities rather than 25p?
A typical takeaway cup costs around 9p, so we have rounded up to 10p and will donate this to community projects local to our cafes.

How did you pick the charities? Can I suggest one?
We are working on this currently with our café teams, but we always welcome suggestions. Please do email us with them

What do you hope to achieve?
To reduce our environmental impact. To demonstrate that to solve this issue bold steps are needed. We have taken that decision and want to show others it is possible. We’re very keen to work with other operators to share best practice on the change too.

How will the baristas know which is my cup?
Our till systems allow a note to be typed onto the order, the cup description will be added to the ticket so the barista knows which is which.

Will I get a stamp on my loyalty card for bringing my own cup?
Yes, we will stamp loyalty cards once per hot drink purchased.

Loan cup scheme:

How will you ensure the loan cups are clean?
The loan cups will be treated as per our other crockery, so once returned will be put through the dishwasher and then be ready for another use.

Do I have to take my loan cup back to the café I got it from?
You can return them to any BTP for your money back.

Will you clean my cup for me if I bring it in dirty?
Yes, we will give them a quick clean so they are ready to use and make sure your drink is at its best.


What happens to your food waste?
It gets recycled in 19 of our 21 cafes, the other two are in shared buildings where we don’t have the facilities as yet, but we are in talks to make this happen. In Bristol is goes to the clever folk at Geneco who have built the Bio bee (a vehicle powered by food waste).

Do you recycle?
Yes! Everything we can, paper, cardboards, food, metal, plastic, glass, oil.

What about plastic straws?
We got rid of our final ones back in January, we only have paper straws and only give them out when someone ask for one or really needs one (super thick smoothies).

How can you claim to reduce plastic use when still using cling film etc?
At the start of this year we had an aim to stop issuing single use plastic, which from the 1st on June we will have completed. But we are on a journey; we have reduce what we can, but still have further to go.
We use reusable tubs for all our prep and pots and lids rather than Clingfilm whenever we can. We will tackle this one point and then move onto the next. We recycle all the plastic we use in house, which is a bare minimum.

Your milk cartons are single use plastic, what are you doing about that?
It’s so tough! The dairy industry use plastic as a standard and a glass bottles are just too small, we are looking at better ways of handling our milk, but for the meantime all the bottles are recycled.

What about paper – menus / till receipts / tickets / napkins – what do you do about that?
We recycle all paper in our cafes and our office. We have a dream to become a paperless office, but one step at a time.

Is this a cost cutting exercise?
No. We will be selling their reusable cups at cost. For every takeaway hot drink purchased, the 10p cost of a takeaway cup will be donated to local community projects around each BTP café.

If your question isn’t covered above and there’s something we’ve missed, drop us a line