A COFFEE shop is on track to recycle a whopping 40,000 takeaway cups in the next five years, while customers will save nearly £7,000 during that time by playing their part in saving the planet.
Costa Coffee at Stretford Mall is currently recycling a quarter of all its disposable, cardboard cups having launched two schemes in tandem last summer in a concerted effort to protect the environment.
As an incentive to customers, the branch knocks 25p off the cost of hot and cold handcrafted drinks when people bring in their own reusable cups or travel mugs, avoiding the need for the store to use a takeaway cup.
Every day a total of 15 customers – the equivalent of 5,460 annually discounted drinks – come through the door with their own cup.
Over the course of 12 months this is a saving of £1,365 or a staggering £6,825 over a five-year period.
The Stretford Mall premises has also become proactive in encouraging people to bring in used takeaway cups, regardless of whether it’s from Costa or one of its competitors, so it can be recycled and ultimately reduce the number going to landfill.
Around 150 used cups are brought into the shop every week, which amounts to a massive 7,800 being recycled over the course of 12 months.
Based on that rate, the branch would reach the 39,000 figure after five years – though the store is keen to keep increasing the amount it recycles as much as possible.
Mark McKay has been manager of Costa Coffee at Stretford Mall since it opened almost two years ago, having previously worked for the chain at Manchester Airport.
He said: “We get about 15 customers a day bringing in their own cups and benefiting from the 25p discount.
“The aim of the initiative is to help reduce the wastage in terms of takeaway cups, and make us more environmentally friendly.
“More and more people are bringing in their own cups or travel mugs because not only do they like the discount they prefer their own anyway.
“We just want to target as many people as possible. We have big signs at the door to encourage people to bring in their own cups or to recycle old ones.”
The 39-year-old who has six staff working for him at the store, added: “With takeaway cups we want to cut down on the usage of them. It’s a lot of cardboard and ultimately trees being cut down.
“We recycle about 150 takeaway cups a week. If people bring other competitors’ cups in then we’ll take them as well to recycle. It doesn’t just have to be Costa takeaway cups.
“We’ve also taken straws and napkins away from the stands in the shop because some people will grab big fistfuls, which is more unnecessary waste.
“Everything we do is environmentally driven and about looking after the planet. It’s very important to us.
“It’s something Costa does across the board. I don’t set any targets we just want to try and get as many people as possible involved.
“We do use a lot of takeaway cups so it’s a difficult thing to quantify anyway but at the moment I think we recycle about a quarter of all cups.”
Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall, welcomed the impact the two initiatives have had.
He said: “It’s great that both staff and customers at Costa Coffee are playing a part in helping to protect the environment.
“I’m sure the two initiatives will continue to go from strength to strength and even more takeaway cups will be recycled in the future.”
Costa Coffee is the UK’s biggest coffee shop chain and aims to recycle a whopping 30 million paper cups every year through the work of more than 2,000 of its stores.
The company is currently working to find a takeaway cup that can be recycled anywhere in order to find a long term, sustainable solution to the issue of so many disposable cups ended up in landfill.
The chain is also working with UK litter charities on national programmes including ‘The Great British Spring Clean’.
Costa Coffee sells a reusable cup where all profits are donated to the Costa Foundation to help build schools in coffee growing communities across the world.
For more information about Stretford Mall visit stretfordmall.co.uk or find the centre on Facebook or Twitter: @stretfordmall