Starbucks rolling out 5p disposable coffee cup charge to all stores in Britain

File photo dated 13/08/13 of Starbucks takeaway cups. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Starbucks is to test a 5p charge for paper cups across all of its 950 stores in Britain following a three-month trial.

The charge will see all stores add 5p on to the cost of any drink bought in a paper cup from July 26 to encourage customers to bring in reusable cups in return for a 25p discount.

The extended test comes after the trial showed a 126% increase in the use of reusable cups in participating stores, measured by the number of customers redeeming the 25p discount.

Starbucks has offered a £1 reusable cup to customers since 2014 and the environmental charity Hubbub revealed that some 8% of all hot drinks served in the mornings were in reusable mugs or tumblers.

A report on the trial showed that the percentage of customers bringing in their own cup or tumbler increased in the stores involved from 2.2% beforehand to 5.8%.

The coffee giant announced on Monday that they would eliminate plastic drinking straws, and introduce lids designed not to need straws, within two years to combat the stress they put on marine life and the environment as a whole.

Starbucks Europe president Martin Brok said: “We saw encouraging results from the first three months of this trial with Hubbub, and what stood out to us was the positive response we had from our partners and customers who continue to push us to innovate and find ways to reduce waste.

“Extending this to all our stores across Britain is an exciting step and we’re hoping this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic as it has with plastic bags.”

Hubbub founder Trewin Restorick said: “Single-use plastics is an issue that has become more significant in people’s minds than ever before. The trial proved this, showing that customers have an increased awareness of the need to reduce waste from single-use cups.

“A 5p charge is an effective way to prompt this change.”

Starbucks have said they will share the findings of the trial with the wider industry in the hope that more alternatives to single-use cups are explored, such as its policy of serving all drinks to be consumed in stores in ceramic cups.

Other chains have recently announced moves to curb disposable cup waste, including Costa Coffee which pledged to recycle as many as it hands out by 2020, and Waitrose which plans to phase them out by the autumn.

Earlier this year, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the Government would consider a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups, following the success of the 5p charge levied on plastic bags.

Government ministers later rejected the proposal and instead said it would rely on voluntary action from retailers.