Plastic bans are encouraging coffee shops to be creative

Amelia Cooper
April 7, 2023
An image of a coffee shop in an article on how coffee shops are dealing with single-use plastics bans by investing in sustainable takeaway coffee cup alternatives

In less than a decade, the way consumers perceive food packaging has undergone a complete upheaval. 

The true extent of the single-use plastics crisis has been widely published and is now common knowledge. Jumping on this permanent mindset shift, there has been a surge in innovative, pioneering sustainability solutions.

These innovations include country-wide bans on plastics and other single-use items, as well as the introduction of sustainable and recyclable packaging materials. 

As a result, it has never been easier for retailers and coffee brands to do their bit to minimise their environmental impact. 

Discover the innovative ways coffee outlets are dealing with plastic bans that are being implemented around the world. 

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Plastic bans and coffee consumption

The impact that single-use plastic packaging has on the planet is widely known thanks to the work of sustainability pioneers.

Increasing awareness has been a critical part of the widespread adoption of renewables and biodegradables.

Around the world, many countries have taken the steps to ban single-use items, such as plastic cups, cup lids, and stirrers. 

Under the shared banner of the United Nations, 170 countries have pledged to significantly reduce their use of plastics by 2030

These include The European Union, which has banned single-use plastic items including straws, drinks stirrers, and beverage cups that are made from expanded polystyrene.

Similarly, Australia has currently set a plan in motion to phase out single-use plastics, including cutlery and straws, from 2025.

In the UK, plastic straws and stirrers were banned in 2020. A further ban will see an end to certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers from October 2023.

“By introducing a ban later this year we are doubling down on our commitment to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste,” said UK Environment Minister Rebecca Pow when she commented on the ban.

“We will also be pressing ahead with our ambitious plans for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and consistent recycling collections in England,” she said. 

The expanding nature of these bans is a clear indication that consumers are firmly on-board with the initiatives.

Despite the introduction of numerous packaging bans, coffee consumption levels have continued to rise. Notably, the global coffee market is projected to enjoy a steady 4.65% CAGR until 2027. 

More so, with 53% of consumers wanting to buy ethical coffee, the specialty segment is likely to share in this success. 

An image of sustainable takeaway coffee cups made from kraft paper beside coffee stirrers made from bamboo in an article on how coffee shops are dealing with single-use plastics bans by investing in sustainable takeaway coffee cup alternatives

Innovative ways coffee shops are handling plastic bans

When faced with the challenge of replacing single-use plastic packaging, the specialty coffee sector has reacted in some extremely creative ways. 

Offer sustainable cup alternatives

An effective way for coffee shops to navigate bans on single-use plastics is to switch to sustainable alternatives. 

This includes switching out takeaway coffee cups, lids, stirrers, straws, and cup trays for those made from renewable materials. 

In order to be eco-friendly, these materials must be biodegradable, compostable or recyclable. For example, takeaway coffee cups can be made using kraft paper, polylactic acid (PLA), or bamboo fibre, and customised using water-based inks.

Implement cup recycling programmes & waste reduction initiatives 

Coffee cup recycling programmes are an effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of your operations.

Furthermore, they can help instil a more sustainable mindset amongst your customers. 

Partnering with programmes such as Loop, TerraCycle, and Veolia often includes installing recycling containers on site, or creating a compost bin for biodegradable coffee cups.

In order for these programmes to succeed, it is essential you choose cups that are readily recyclable

You will also need to make sure that you have plenty of scope to upscale this initiative as your sales increase. 

An image of two takeaway coffee cups, one made from paper with a PLA lining, the other made from PET or PLA, clear recyclable plastic, in an article on how coffee shops are dealing with single-use plastics bans by investing in sustainable takeaway coffee cup alternatives

Sustainable takeaway coffee cups: The most effective option

Without a doubt, these creative approaches present fantastic ways to overcome the current plastic problem. 

They demonstrate both the ingenuity and resilience of the industry, and a clear confidence that it can make the sustainability changes required. 

For the majority of coffee businesses, offering biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable coffee cups is the most effective solution to single-use plastic bans. 

This is because these sustainable cups are: 

  • Made from materials that break down naturally at a faster pace than traditional plastics
  • Able to break down without leaving a negative impact on the surrounding environment
  • Cost-effective
  • Highly appealing to a growing number of customers who now shop with an eco-conscious mindset 
  • Fully compliant with environmental regulations
  • Able to be customised to include company branding to boost brand awareness
  • Able to encourage responsible consumption and disposal among customers

Takeaway coffee cups and food packaging made from sustainable or biodegradable materials such as bamboo fibre, polylactic acid (PLA), or kraft paper, can help companies become eco-friendly and save on overhead costs.  

MTPak Coffee can provide you with sustainable, custom-printed takeaway coffee cups, cup sleeves, and trays made from sustainable materials, such as kraft paper, bamboo fibre, or PET, complete with a PLA lining.

In addition to being 100% compostable, our cups are strong, waterproof, and lightweight. Our design team is also able to customise your coffee cups or sleeves to your exact specifications.

Our range of cups is available in different sizes: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz. 

Each one is available to order as single or double wall, while customisable sleeves are available for all three sizes.

At MTPak Coffee, we use innovative and eco-friendly digital printing technology with sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are highly resistant to abrasion, heat, and water.

We offer a number of unique customisation techniques that can be applied to takeaway cups and sleeves, such as embossing, spot UV, or hot foil stamping. 

We also offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) options. This means you can order as few as 500 fully customised units in just five working days.

For more information about our range of sustainable takeaway coffee cups, contact our team

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