Five Waitrose stores in East Anglia to stop using disposable coffee cups in company trial

Waitrose in Norwich is among nine branches of the supermarket which will be the first to stop using

Waitrose in Norwich is among nine branches of the supermarket which will be the first to stop using disposable coffee cups. The company wants to phase out disposable cups in all stores by this autumn. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Five branches of Waitrose in East Anglia will be among the first to do away with disposable coffee cups.

The upmarket grocer has announced plans to remove all disposable cups from its shops by this autumn, as part of efforts to reduce plastics and packaging.

The removal of disposable cups will be trialled in nine stores – including Ipswich, Norwich, Newmarket, Sudbury and Wymondham – from April 30 before the scheme is rolled out nationwide.

Waitrose said the move, which comes as the government is considering introducing a charge on disposable coffee cups, known as the 'latte levy', would save more than 52 million cups a year.

Members of the myWaitrose loyalty scheme will still be able to get free tea and coffee from self-service machines as a reward for shopping at the supermarket, but will be asked to use a reuseable 'keen cup', the company said.

Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose, said: 'We realise this is a major change, but we believe removing all takeaway disposable cups is the right thing to do for our business and are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits.

'It underlines our commitment to plastic and packaging reduction and our aim is to deliver this as quickly as possible.'

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As part of the changes, myWaitrose members will not be able to claim their free hot drink in the chain's 180 in-store cafes, to avoid customers without a reusable cup who cannot use the self-service machines putting increased pressure on the catering areas.

Instead, myWaitrose members who purchase a tea or coffee in a cafe will get a choice of food options for free or with a significant discount, the company said.

Other branches included in the trial are in Billericay, Cambridge, Banbury in Oxfordshire and Upminster in east London.