According to research carried out by Cardiff University, the simple measure of charging 25p per disposable coffee cup could cut waste by between 50 to 300 million cups per year.
Commissioned by coffee roaster, Bewley’s, researched between September and December, a range of measures were tested to encourage consumers to switch to reusable coffee cups.
The study found that by charging for disposable coffee cups, reusable coffee cup use rose by 3.4 per cent and environmental messaging in cafes increased use by 2.3 per cent.
Additionally, the sale of reusable cups led to an increase of 2.5 per cent use and unsurprisingly, the distribution of free reusable cups led to a use increase of 4.3 per cent.
Report author, Professor Wouter Poortinga of the Welsh School of Architecture said combining the above measures would amplify the impact for each one:
Our results show that, on average, the use of reusable coffee cups could be increased by up to 12.5 per cent with a combination of measures.
“With this in mind, the UK’s usage of an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups each year could be cut by up to 300 million coffee cups.”
A discount on reusable coffee cups was found to have no impact at all.
Ministers have recently rejected a call for a charge on the 2.5 billion cups thrown away each year with the understanding that coffee chains were doing enough to try and bring down the waste.
A new scheme to boost disposable coffee recycling is also set to launch on Monday in the city of London.