Argos, a unit of the Sainsbury Group, said its December 2017 portable cup sales were 537% more than the same period last year. In the meantime, sales at the Lakeland Kitchenware chain rose more than 100% on a quarterly basis, with home-products company Robert Dyas reporting a 50% year-on-year increase.
John Lewis said the week before Christmas was the biggest week to ever sell a travel mug and Wilco said sales in December were 78% more than in November.
Last week, lawmakers at the Environmental Audit Committee called for a 25p pennies “latte tax” over the price of hot drinks, amid growing fears of overuse and waste of 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups each year. Meanwhile, in a government 25-year environmental plan released Thursday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the request for evidence of a one-time item fee.
Disposable cups can not be recycled by conventional systems because they are made of cardboard, and the bonded polyethylene liner is difficult to remove. As a result, only one of the 400 cups was recycled – less than 0.25%. The report said that Britain has 500,000 cups of coffee a day.
Dawn Ritchie, kitchen purchasing manager at Argos, said: “During Christmas, we saw a substantial increase in the sales of travel mugs.” This is driven partly by the popularity of programs such as Blue Planet II and the provision of some of the largest coffee chains in the UK Convinced discounts provide customers with reusable cups. With the recent “latte levy”, we expect this trend to only increase with one-off cup rubbish. “
However, the financial incentives that British coffee chains encourage consumers to use reusable coffee cups have mixed results. In 1998, Starbucks became the first coffee chain in the UK to offer discounts to users of reusable cups – 10 pence – before raising it to 25 pence in 2008. In 2016, the figure doubled to 50 pence, but the volume was still very low. In 2014, it introduced a ￡ 1 reusable cup, but despite these efforts, only 1.8% of customers use reusable cups. Earlier this month, Pret a Manger had doubled its discounts to all hot drinks customers bought with reusable cups and plans to launch their own reusable cups later this year.
Trewin Restorick, chief executive of Hubbub, an environmental charity, said: “It’s really encouraging to see the increase in sales of reusable cups as the greenest choice for mobile coffee, and we’d also like to see the existing cups Of our recycling facilities because our Square Mile Challenge has proven that the public is very willing to use these devices when they have the choice. “