Starbucks tackles Thames plasic

Starbucks tackles Thames plasic

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Starbucks UK is raising a levy on paper cups to fight plastic pollution. The coffee chain is charging £0.05 a cup across all its British stores, with the proceeds going to environmental outfit Hubbub to fund a new boat to clean up waste in the River Thames.

The move follows a three-month Starbucks/Hubbub trial to evaluate the impact of the cup charge, along with a £0.25 reusable cup discount, on customer behaviour. On average, the percentage of total hot beverages served in reusable cups increased in the beta stores from 2.2% before the trial to 5.8%.

Hubbub’s cup-financed vessel is the Poly-Mer, the world’s first recycled plastic boat, made from 99% recycled plastic waste, aka Plaswood.

“Poly-Mer is part of a new wave of ‘Plastic Fishing’ trips taking place in and around London's Docklands to fish plastic out of the river,” explains Hubbub. “We will make more boats like Poly-Mer from the collected plastic litter, creating a recycled flotilla to help clean our waterways.”

Image: Hubbub

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