Disposable takeaway cups bad? Reusable keep cups good?

Well, it’s not that simple. Read on to find out why.

There’s more to it from a Cafe-owner’s point of view….and let’s face it, we care about what cafe owners deal with day-today.














But How Do People REALLY Consume Coffee?

Reusable cups are handy to some – those with a routine and a 9-5 office job around the corner from their local cafe or a car parked outside. Thing is, it’s never going to replace every single coffee transaction.

Coffee buying is for the most part an impulse purchase. We would argue over 50% of coffee buying is impulsive coz we’ve spent a lotta, lotta time in cafes.  It’s a treat, something that people always think about.

For most people it’s routine every morning. They buy the coffee or every lunchtime. People don’t really walk around with ‘keep cups’ though in case they decide to buy a coffee..

And let’s face, it reusable cups are made out of plastic and metal. Just like that growing pile of reusable shopping bags you’ve been paying for, we suspect that could end up being a new clutter magnet.

Either way the debate rages on as a cafe in New Zealand bans takeaway cups in this story :



Surely Recyclable, Biodegradable Cafe Packaging Works Better?

Many cafes try to use recyclable and biodegradable products. In fact, many of our coffee partner locations spend more on these than typical stock items.

Coffee shop owners can buy into many sustainable options such as recyclable tops. green cups or a whole range of biodegradable products.

Bottom line? The customer behaviour needs to follow through. The customer has to dispose of them properly and in most cases that doesn’t happen. Are you willing to educate them and provide them with an easy way to dispose?


But How will Reusable Coffee Cups affect your Cafe’s Service?

So let’s think about it from the cafe’s point of view.  All these customers coming in with their own keep cups. The barista would have a line of cups on the counter – all different looking, different shapes, different sizes.

How is (s)he expected to know what drink to put into,  and what cup belongs to who ? For the barista this is a nightmare.  Especially when in busy shops.  The person who eventually fills your cup is not the person who took the order.

Imagine they get it wrong. Just once.  They put the wrong drink in the wrong cup, the coffee gets sent back, the cups need to be washed out, the queue is still building, orders still coming in, and the barista has to start over.



Just Be Prepared for the Consequences & The Math

We’re all for recycling. I’m all for saving money in cafes but really, where is logic when you, as the cafe owner have to take the hit.

We discussed this on Twitter (@coffeeculture) and some people were suggesting a discount, like €.40c per drink if they use their own cup.

But is this sustainable for cafes ? Margins are so tight as it is ..

And in most cases you already have a loyalty card.  Thats a 10% discount already.  In effect the cafe would be giving you a discount for making their lives more difficult.

Do the Math. We can help you think it through in more detail by the way … just drop us a line.


Our Pet Coffee Peeve ?

If you want to save the earth for coffee then we suggest getting rid of using capsules in those dreaded little home barista machines. That’s the problem of your convenience.

Capsules are filling landfills all over the world – they don’t biodegrade, they don’t get dumped respectfully, and with proper care for the environment.

If consumers want to care – they should buy fresh beans, grind it at home and make a fresh filter coffee brew.

The piece of paper filter can be recycled, better still use a stew mesh like on a French press or aero press doesn’t have to be recycled just cleaned. A fresher cup at home is better for the environment any day of the week.

Glad we got that off our chest!


What’s your Take on the Takeaway Coffee Cup Debate?

Go on. Tell us. Drop us a line below or Tweet your thoughts @coffeeculture

Join the #CoffeeCupDebate