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Bristol coffee cup scheme to tackle plastic waste

An alliance of environmental groups and coffee shops in Bristol recently joined forces to combat plastic pollution in the area. The campaign involved picking up and dropping off reusable coffee cups at participating venues, including the University of the West of England, St. Michael’s Hospital, and a number of independent coffee shops in the city.

The initiative launched on World Refill Day on Friday 16th June, a global public awareness campaign to prevent plastic pollution and help people live with less waste.

Currently, more than 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK, which equates to 10,000 every two minutes.

The initiative is being spearheaded by City to Sea, a not-for-profit that campaigns to stop plastic pollution, which provided the returnable and reusable ‘Bristol Refill Return Cup’. The organisation estimates that if the Bristol Refill Return Cup was used by just one in ten residents just once a week, then 46,000 single-use cups would be saved across the city every week, or 2.5 million single-use coffee cups a year.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “A year ago I set City to Sea the challenge of making sure that any solution to plastic pollution is accessible to the whole city and they’re rising to this challenge. This is a One City approach to help make sure that the places we love can stay litter free.”

The Refill Return Cup is a reusable cup that can be picked up and dropped off at participating coffee shops across the whole city eliminating the need for single-use coffee cups. Every venue taking part is mapped on the City to Sea Refill app.

City to Sea’s Head of Development, Jane Martin commented: “We can’t keep going as we are with park bins overflowing and our Harbourside littered with floating single-use coffee cups. We need to do things differently.”