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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030873

Promoting the Use of Reusable Coffee Cups through Environmental Messaging, the Provision of Alternatives and Financial Incentives

1
Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3NB, UK
2
School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
3
Bewley’s Tea and Coffee UK Ltd., 8 Century Point, Cressex Business Park, Halifax Road, High Wycombe HP12 3SL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract

It is estimated that 2.5–10 bn disposable coffee cups are used every year in the U.K. Most of these cups end up in landfill or as litter, as the majority of poly-coated paper cups are not recyclable or not recycled. Here, we report on a field experiment that was conducted at twelve university and business sites to examine whether the use of reusable cups can be promoted through easily implementable measures. The study found that both environmental messaging and the provision of alternatives increased the use of reusable cups. While a charge on disposable cups increased their use as well, a discount on reusable cups did not. The effects for the individual measures were modest, but additive, meaning that the greatest behavioural change was achieved with a combination of measures. None of the measures negatively impacted the total number of hot drink sales. One university continued with the charge after the experiment had finished and distributed more reusable cups for free among their students. This boosted the use of reusable cups up to 33.7% across three cafés. This shows that a charge in combination with the provision of alternatives can increase the use of reusable cups substantially in the long term. View Full-Text
Keywords: coffee cups; field experiment; latte levy; environmental messaging; provision of alternatives; financial incentives; charge; discount; sustainable behaviour coffee cups; field experiment; latte levy; environmental messaging; provision of alternatives; financial incentives; charge; discount; sustainable behaviour
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Poortinga, W.; Whitaker, L. Promoting the Use of Reusable Coffee Cups through Environmental Messaging, the Provision of Alternatives and Financial Incentives. Sustainability 2018, 10, 873.

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