Starbucks launches reusable cup scheme at Gatwick

10 Jun 2019 by Hannah Brandler
Starbucks, Gatwick South Terminal. Credit: Zute Lightfoot

Starbucks has launched the first airport reusable cup trial in partnership with Gatwick and environmental NGO Hubbub.

The trial will run for one month in the airport’s South Terminal.

Starbucks customers will be able to borrow a free reusable cup for their hot drink instead of a disposable paper cup in an attempt to reduce waste.

Customers can then drop these off at one of five (appropriately named) ‘Cup Check-In’ points throughout the airport, including at the Starbucks store which opened in 2017, before boarding their flight.

Gatwick’s waste management team will collect, wash and sterilise the cups in line with the airport’s safety standards before returning them to the Starbucks store for customer use.

The trial aims to circulate 2,000 reusable cups throughout the South Terminal. They have calculated that if 250 customers choose a reusable cup each day, the airport could see over 7,000 disposable coffee cups saved from waste in one month.

Jaz Rabadia MBE, UK Senior Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Starbucks, commented:

“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. 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 this might not be for everyone.”

Customers wishing to use a disposable paper cup are still welcome to do so, as long as they pay the 5p charge that was instated at all Starbucks stores last year.

All proceeds generated from this charge are donated to Hubbub to carry out further environmental projects and research.

Reusable Cup Sign

Rachel Thompson, Sustainability Lead at Gatwick Airport, says:

“This trial fits well with Gatwick’s own circular economy ethos, which sees us utilise as many recovered resources as possible from within the airport estate.

“By redesigning and investing in new waste collection and sorting facilities, and also in training to raise awareness about our journey toward zero waste, we have so far managed to hit a waste recycling and reuse rate of 70 per cent this year. This includes all empty coffee cups and plastics and we also send zero waste to landfill.”

Gatwick already recycles over 5.3 million of the seven million paper cups used at the airport annually.

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Co-Founder of Hubbub, added:

“The airport is the ideal environment to trial a reusable cup scheme, as it is a closed loop environment and has the potential to reduce large volumes of paper cup waste. What we learn here will provide valuable insight into how to deploy a reusable trial in not only other airports, but many other environments.”

Hubbub previously led the #SquareMileChallenge campaign in 2017, in which 5 million cups from the City of London were recycled in 12 months.

Read more about sustainable initiatives in the July/August issue of Business Traveller.

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