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Businesswoman’s initiative to make cuppa eco-friendly

Wendy Baird with the wall of 365 coffee cups at Carriages Café
Wendy Baird with the wall of 365 coffee cups at Carriages Café

A café owner offering discounts to customers with a re-usable cup is hoping other businesses take up the idea.

Mrs Wendy Baird, of Carriages Café, Newark Castle Station, wants to cut down on the amount of plastic cups being thrown away and standardise the discount for people using their own flasks.

She has launched EcoCuppa... which offers a 50p discount on hot drinks for anyone using their own cup and is open to any café to take part.

Businesses taking part in the initiative can display a poster advertising the 50p discount and also get a free listing on the EcoCuppa... website — www.ecocuppa.org.uk

Mrs Baird said: “When I came to Carriages I wanted to make it an eco-shop and we wanted things to be as eco-friendly as possible.

“The idea of Eco-Cuppa is to standardise what people can expect when they take their own flask somewhere, because at the moment it is very disjointed.

“You might get 10%, 5% or 20p off, and it is a bit of a barrier because people do not feel comfortable walking in with their own flask.

“This saves any embarrassment and hopefully it will be taken up throughout the country.”

The Picnic Basket, Carrington Street, Nottingham, and Halfway House, Nottinghamshire Golf Course, Stragglethorpe, were the first cafés to sign up.

Two Newark businesses — Gannets, Castlegate, and Artisan, Chain Lane — have since joined the initiative, which aims to cut down on the amount of plastic cups being wasted.

Hot drinks containers have a cardboard outer layer with a plastic waterproof lining. Few can be recycled unless the cardboard is separated from the plastic, which is a difficult process.

'It creates a feelgood factor'

Mrs Baird said: “I am keen to promote EcoCuppa... and I am hoping new customers will come in because of this.

“If a café gets one new customer because of it they will get their 50p back quite quickly.

“It is very worthwhile for cafés to adopt the scheme and it is free for them to take part.”

Mrs Baird built a wall using 365 coffee cups in her café to demonstrate how much difference one customer could make in a year.

“Even if it was just half of that number, it would still make a dent,” she said.

“Multiply that by hundreds, if not thousands, of people and it would make a huge difference.

“There is a high profit margin on coffee and tea and I think most responsible coffee shop owners would be happy to share that a little bit.

“It creates a feelgood factor and they would increase their customer base from the ripple effect.”

Any cafés interested in signing up to the initiative should email ecocuppa@gmail.com

Mrs Baird has a limited number of EcoCuppa... branded flasks that will be given to the first cafés in Newark that sign up to the scheme.

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