Gatwick, the UK’s second-largest airport, is set to be the site of the country’s first reusable coffee cup trial.
Customers buying hot drinks at Starbucks will have the option of choosing a free reusable cup, instead of the standard cardboard/plastic takeaway cup.
The cups will be collected at designated points before customers board their flights. They will then be washed and sterilised before being returned to Starbucks.
The trial will run for one month at the airport’s South terminal, creating a closed loop process that could, in practise, be emulated at any travel hub.
Discounts and other promotions have seen the use of reusable cups increase in other locations, but research suggests customers do not bring those containers with them when travelling.
Trewin Restorick, chief executive of charity Hubbub, which will be co-sponsoring the initiative, said: “We want to find out whether people will get onboard with reusing cups if we make it easy and convenient. The airport is the ideal environment to trial a reusable cup scheme as it has the potential to reduce large volumes of paper cup waste.”
Single-use takeaway cups used in coffee shops are expensive to recycle, due to the combination of paper and plastic in the product.
According to the report, 5.3m of the 7m paper cups used at Gatwick each year are recycled, but it’s hoped this will reduce the overall number of single-use cups being used.
In 2018, Starbucks was the first coffee chain to introduce a 5p charge for takeaway cups, with all proceeds being donated to Hubbub to fund environmental projects.