Chic and Sustainable Coffee Cups Are the Future in Food Service

Posted on February 21, 2018 by Ash Bennett

Millions of disposable coffee cups are purchased every day. Cups from multinational giants like Starbucks, regional chains such as Muffin Break, and independent cafes enter landfills day after day as a result. It’s been estimated that Australians toss one billion disposable coffee cups into landfills every year, creating hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste. Lids are a problem, but the plastic lining in paper cups is the culprit in generating all this waste.

Customers have undoubtedly pondered the environmental impacts of their caffeine habits, as these cups are rarely recycled. Business owners have as well, since it is often their responsibility to dispose of these cups on their premises. Making the shift to “greener” packaging is inevitable: coffee grounds and tea leaves are biodegradable, why shouldn’t their vessels be?

Cafes and coffee shops need to switch to more sustainable packaging to reduce their carbon footprint. This can also help make a positive impression on customers who are becoming more eco-conscious and want to shift away from single-use disposable coffee cups. While there are currently challenges in making the switch to sustainable packaging, it can be done, and it will take more business owners becoming more proactive about using biodegradable coffee cups and other sustainable options. Here’s what you can do to make an impact.


Give Customers Strong Incentives to Bring in Reusable Cups

You can do your part for the environment and cut down on restocking expenses by encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups in. Offering a discount, a free pastry, free refills, or other significant incentive will give customers more reason to bring in their own cups.

You can also increase your branding by selling your own reusable cups in-store. There are many materials to choose from, but silicone is the best option, as it’s durable, recyclable, and won’t leach into the beverages.


Choose Sustainable Cups That Make a Statement

Earth-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean ugly or banal. Disposable coffee cups can be consistent with your branding, and don’t have to be the stock light brown color that most people associate with environmentally-friendly materials.

Be Mindful of Plastic Content

The lids and lining are ultimately what matters when sourcing sustainable supplies, as the plastics in them take a longer time to break down. When choosing designs be sure to pay attention to how much biodegradable material has taken the place of plastic.


Size Matters

One of the foremost challenges in switching to earth-friendly packaging is the availability of sizes. Keep track of your most popular sizes and order according to demand and machine capacity. If the demand gets strong enough, manufacturers will start offering more sizes.

Making the shift towards sustainable and reusable coffee cups won’t happen overnight, but environmentally-friendly coffee cups are the future of food service. By encouraging the use of reusable cups to cut down on having to purchase and recycle disposable cups, and switching to disposable cups made of biodegradable materials, more awareness will be raised of the environmental issue that coffee cups currently present.

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