On December 9th Blue Bottle, the US boutique coffee chain, said in a statement on its website that it would pilot the elimination of disposable paper cups at two Stores in the Us Gulf in early 2020 and promote a “zero waste” program at 70 U.S. stores by the end of next year.
The statement said that after the cancellation of disposable paper cups, customers can bring their own cups, or pay a deposit to “rent” the in-store cups, the next consumption can be used again or asked for a refund of the deposit, the deposit is between $3 and $5. At the same time, the company will no longer use disposable packages that sell coffee beans and switch to reusable containers.
So far, the brand’s coffee shops in the U.S. have handled about 15,000 disposable cups a month, with more than 12 million processing each year.
Blue Bottle is a boutique coffee chain based in California. In 2017, Nestle made a high-profile acquisition of 68 per cent of its shares for more than $500m, making it the parent company it actually owns. For Nestle, Blue Bottle is a big part of its high-end product line.
In fact, since January, the city of Berkeley, California, has imposed a city ban that requires consumers to pay an extra 25 cents for disposable cups in cafes or restaurants.
However, not everyone is happy with Blue Bottle’s environmental proposal. Some people with disabilities consider non-disposable straws or cups to be exclusive, which is not friendly for people with disabilities who cannot easily hold heavy cups or straws.
Blue Bottle responded by saying the company’s goal is to “inclusiveall” and has been meeting with people with disabilities to discuss solutions, but has yet to give a specific answer.
Challenging disposable paper cups has in fact become a new initiative in the past two years for government environmental agencies and coffee chains.
In March 2018, Starbucks and an investment firm called Closed Loop Partners launched a challenge to collect more recyclable coffee cups for up to $10 million. While seeking solutions to the outside world, Starbucks is also testing paper cup liners made of plant materials. In July of the same year, Starbucks tested a 5p paper cup fee at 950 cafes in the UK, with customers using their own cups receiving a 25p discount.
In March, South Korea’s Ministry of Environmental Protection was considering a plan to block the use of disposable cups in principle after plastic cups were banned. According to South Korean media reports, Starbucks and other coffee chains have signed a voluntary agreement with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of South Korea, no longer provide disposable paper cups, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection will also consider re-investing in the one-time cup deposit system.
On November 6th Richard Bruton, Ireland’s environment minister, said the country would introduce a “latte tax” by 2021, with a temporary levy of 0.1, 0.15 or 0.25 euros per cup of coffee using disposable paper cups, and in Ireland, a cup of coffee would normally cost 3 euros. According to a 2018 government report, Ireland’s 4.9 million people consume as many as 200 million cups of disposable coffee each year.