All disposable coffee cups will be removed from Waitrose by the autumn, the supermarket has announced.
The move is expected to save more than 52 million cups a year and initially Waitrose will remove disposable cups in nine of its stores from 30 April which will then be rolled out across all stores in a phased programme by the autumn.
Customers will be informed before the change comes into effect in their local shop.
Members of the Waitrose loyalty scheme will still be able to enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee from the self-service machine if they bring in their own reusable cup.
However the loyalty members will no longer be able to claim their free hot drink from the in-house cafe to prevent increased pressure from those without a reusable cup who cannot use the self-service machine.
Instead, myWaitrose members who purchase a tea or coffee in a cafe will be offered a choice of food options to enjoy for free or with a generous discount. These will vary each month, but for the first month loyalty members will be able to choose from either soup, bircher muesli, almond croissant or a loaf cake slice to have for free with their beverage.
Waitrose recently pledged to not sell any of its own label food in black plastic beyond 2019 – an earlier date than any other supermarket. It has also committed to make all own-label packaging widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable by 2025.
Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose, said: “We realise this is a major change, but we believe removing all takeaway disposable cups is the right thing to do for our business and are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits.
“It underlines our commitment to plastic and packaging reduction and our aim is to deliver this as quickly as possible.”
Additionally, Waitrose has invested in training 800 Food Service Partners as baristas, to give an even better hospitality service in its cafes. The coffees available in the cafe will also be made using an organic 100 per cent Arabica Fairtrade coffee bean.
These changes to its cafe service will also first be made from 30 April in eight of the same shops where disposable cups will be initially removed before taking effect in all branches with hospitality areas from 23 May.