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The Cotswold Reusable Cup Scheme

Written by on 15th June 2021

The Cotswolds AONB exceeds 38 million visitors annually. Bourton on the Water is a major tourist centre, with around 10,000 visitors a day at peak. Tourism stimulates local economies, but the intense concentration of people also has its environmental drawbacks. Takeaway drinks & food containers create a disproportionate amount of single use waste – 7M single use paper cups a day in the UK with <1% being recycled- resulting in local authorities purchasing more bins and increased bin collections to 3x daily, sadly this has not solved the significant single waste problem but enabled it. How it Works: Customers will pay £2 deposit for the cup and when finished return the cup to participating cafes for their £2 back. Cups are then cleaned and ready for reuse. Based on the success of the Shrewsbury Cup and positive initial feedback from local cafes we are confident that consumers will embrace this positive change and help reduce the .5M cups deposited as litter each day.

What we’ll deliver:

  • A reusable cup scheme to reduce single use waste
  • Cleaner villages and environment
  • A community initiative for residents to be proud of
  • Reduced waste collection and reduced disposal expenditure
  • Reduced carbon footprint and less pollution entering the system
  • Reduced dependence on ‘buy, use, waste, buy…’ disposable product cycle
  • Savings to local cafes, as cups will be reused rather than buying new
  • Empowering people to make an effortless sustainable choice at point of sale

Why it’s a great idea:

The North Cotswolds has a massive waste problem related to tourism and single use disposable items. The Cotswold Cup will be piloted in a few villages in cafes and takeaway restaurants. The scheme will replace single use cups and encourage people to return drinks containers for their deposit; rewarding people for responsible consumption resulting in a cleaner community and local environment. Vendors will see a reduced cost by switching to the reusable cup scheme and gain respect from locals concerned about excessive litter in their community and countryside. It will be a symbol of positive community action and a source of community pride. It is hoped that the Local Authority will be able to reduce daily bin collections and related cost savings, as disposable containers are replaced over time with sustainable reusables. Locals will have a sense of pride as part of a new initiative to preserve their community and landscape.

Steps to get it done:

  • Present our initiative to the Zero Waste Declaration Taskforce
  • Secure funding and vendor commitment (in process)
  • Recruit in as many cafes/takeaways, and provide training
  • Promote cafes and scheme in local papers and social media
  • Reinvest in the project and expand to other Cotswold villages
  • Expand the cup scheme to include takeaway containers for food

We hope that this project will provide much needed education and conversation related to single use waste as well as being a case study for local loop sustainable reusable products. By participating people will be educating through action. Our social media and outreach through local papers etc will also help draw attention to the growing problem of single use cups and litter, and offer a sustainable solution.

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