Customers who are members of the supermarket chain’s loyalty scheme, myWaitrose, will continue to have the option of free tea or coffee from the shops’ self-serve machine as a thank you for shopping with them.
But in the coming weeks they will be asked to bring their own reusable cup to use, rather than be offered a disposable coffee cup when they go through the checkout.
Waitrose will initially remove disposable cups in nine branches from April 30 ‘to understand how to manage the changeover as smoothly as possible’ before rolling it 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.
The nine branches are: Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster, Fitzroy Street, Cambridge (little Waitrose).
Waitrose head of sustainability and responsible sourcing Tor Harris 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.”
As part of today’s announcement, myWaitrose members will no longer be able to claim their free hot drink in its 180 in-store cafes. This is to avoid customers without a reusable cup (and therefore unable to use the self-serve machines) putting increased pressure on its hospitality areas.
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 myWaitrose members will be able to choose from a free soup, bircher muesli, almond croissant or a loaf cake slice to accompany their beverage.
Additionally, Waitrose has invested in training 800 food service partners as baristas. The coffees available in the cafe will also be made using a 100% Arabica coffee bean, which is both Fairtrade and organic.
These changes to its cafe service will also first be made from April 30 in the eight branches where disposable cups will be initially removed, before taking effect in all branches with hospitality areas from May 23.
Waitrose recently pledged to not sell any own-label food in black plastic beyond 2019 – an earlier date than any other supermarket(https://housewareslive.net/waitrose-pledges-to-be-black-plastic-packaging-free-by-end-of-2019/). It has also committed to make all own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable, or home compostable by 2025.