Shrewsbury gets a coffee buzz from a deposit-return cup scheme

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Shrewsbury will be one of the first places in the UK to have a town-wide, deposit-return scheme for reusable takeaway cups to help cut waste and promote sustainability.

The Shrewsbury Cup is made from foamed polypropylene and used over and over again  before being recycled
The Shrewsbury Cup is made from foamed polypropylene and used over and over again before being recycled

The brightly coloured reusable ‘Shrewsbury Cup’ is designed to replace single-use paper cups and will cost just £1, which is refunded when customers return them to participating cafes.

Shrewsbury Cup is a new Community Interest Company and plans to roll out the scheme across coffee shops in the town centre during April and has support from Shrewsbury BID (Business Improvement District).

A four-week trial at the stop cafe bar at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and the stop coffee shop at St Julian’s Crescent back in December 2018 was well-received by customers.

Co-owner Mike Dalton said: “The cups can be used hundreds of times, and are made from good quality plastic which is built to last.

“We had a really positive response. It is a simple premise and people get it. It’s easy for people to join up – just a £1 deposit for the cup.

“We agreed to take part because of the need for everyone to do their bit to reduce unnecessary waste. A simple, effective scheme like this is a win-win.”

Following on from this successful trial, both Sam Gwilliam from Ginger & Co and Tim Franklin from The Shed have helped shape this new initiative on behalf of businesses from across the town.

Alison Thomas and Sophie Peach of Shrewsbury Cup CIC ran a successful trial at last year’s Hay Festival which reduced the volume of single use cups used at the festival by 92 per cent.

Alison said: “We know the cup works and people like drinking from them. The trial at stop cafe was really successful and we can’t wait to get going with the scheme in April.

“The whole point is to move away from single use paper cups. The Shrewsbury Cup is a waste-free way to enjoy your takeaway coffee.”

The project is being supported by Shrewsbury BID on behalf of town centre businesses. Executive director, Seb Slater, said the BID was delighted to be involved.

“A big part of the BID’s remit is to improve the visitor experience in Shrewsbury town centre, and reducing plastic waste in an exciting and innovative way like this fits that perfectly,” he said.

“We believe we are one of the first, if not the first, town to create its own reusable cup, which is all down to the positive attitude of our business owners.

“It’s fantastic that Shrewsbury is leading the way in such an important environmental issue, and we look forward to seeing people using the cup all over the town.”

The idea was inspired by a successful project in Freiburg, Germany, promoting reusable instead of disposable coffee cups.

The Shrewsbury Cup is made from foamed polypropylene which has good insulating properties to keep drinks hot but is safe to hold. It can be used over and over again and is fully recyclable at the end of its life.

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