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Gatwick becomes first UK airport to host reusable coffee cup trial

The trial aims to offer a new approach to reuse, helping customers reduce disposable cup usage within closed environments such as travel hubs.

Gatwick becomes first UK airport to host reusable coffee cups trail

The trial could see 7,000 of these disposable coffee cups saved from use

Gatwick Airport has announced its decision to host the #cupcupandaway campaign in association with Starbucks, which could see 7,000 disposable coffee cups saved from use.

The trial will offer drop-off points for Starbucks’ reusable cups throughout the South Terminal to help cut paper cup waste and address throw-away culture.

Starbucks customers will have the option to borrow a free reusable cup for their drink instead of using a paper cup, which they can then drop off at one of five ‘Cup Check-In’ points throughout the airport before they board their flight.

Over 5.3 million of the seven million paper cups used at Gatwick each year are already being recycled but as recycling requires empty cups to be placed in the dry recycling bins, Starbucks and Hubbub have identified the potential to increase reusable cup options as well to limit the number of cups used in travel hubs where on-the-go packaging is prevalent.

The aim of the trial is to put 2,000 reusable Starbucks cups in circulation throughout Gatwick’s South Terminal, which could drastically reduce the number of paper cups being used each day. For example, if only 250 customers opted for reusable each day, it could see over 7,000 paper cups saved in one month.

Rachel Thompson, Sustainability Lead, Gatwick Airport, said: “There is strong public support for measures to reduce waste and we are delighted to support one of our retailers with an innovation that can help travellers do that. We are looking forward to seeing how the trial goes and what we can learn to improve the solution. 

“This trial fits well with Gatwick’s own circular economy ethos, which sees us utilise as many recovered resources as possible from within the airport estate. By redesigning and investing in new waste collection and sorting facilities, and also in training to raise awareness about our journey toward zero waste, we have so far managed to hit a waste recycling and reuse rate of 70 per cent this year. This includes all empty coffee cups and plastics and we also send zero waste to landfill.”

Jaz Rabadia MBE, UK Senior Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Starbucks, commented: “The purpose of working with Hubbub and Gatwick is to help create a new culture of reuse on-the-go by giving customers the option of a reusable cup instead of paper for free. We are optimistic that the ‘Cup Check-In’ points around the airport will provide enough places for customers to return their cups on the way to their gate, but also recognise this might not for everyone. Our goal is to save 7,000 disposable cups over the course of the month to find out the best ways to drive reuse where it is typically harder to do so – such as airports.”