Boston Tea Party saves 40,000 cups from landfill
Boston Tea Party (BTP), which hit the headlines with its initiative to ban disposable cups across its 22 coffee shops (CBW, May 8), has saved more than 40,000 cups from going to landfill and sold 13,000 reusable cups during its first three months.
The good news, according to brand director, Anita Atkins is that despite initial like-for-like sales dropping trading is “normalising”.
Atkins said that its figures had also been hit by the warm weather but smoothie sales had been "through the roof".
She added that the company did not appear to have lost that many customers but there had been a change in consumer behaviour.
“We have seen an increase in eat-in rather than takeaway,” she said.
“It might be that people enjoy the product but might not necessarily have a reuseable cup or it might be that they can spare the time for a treat.”
BTP has run two operator workshops at its Bristol head office, which saw those in the industry come together, to learn more about how it has managed to make the ban work from an operational and commercial perspective.
These were not only attended by coffee shop chains but universities, independents and packaging companies.
“We had people attending from all over the country,” she said.
“We went through the training that we gave our team. The most important thing was that the customer never felt silly when they got to the till.”
She said there had been a number of surprises along the way such as the fact it had been much easier to implement from an operational perspective. There is also space in the storerooms which were previously crowded with thousands of consumable cups.
She also said that the initiative had brought a “real sense of teamwork” across the group and staff churn was at an all-time low.
On the Government’s potential plans for new plastic taxes and bans Atkins said: “I feel there could be a carrot rather than a stick.”
She said more help should be given to businesses.
“When we started on the project we were looking at what more we could do to recycle. We started to talk to Bristol about trying to do recycling on the street,” she said.
“But actually there was no recycling help and support for what we were doing.“