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Starbucks rents out reusable coffee cups at UK Gatwick Airport

Starbucks Coffee Cups
Starbucks Coffee Cups
By Lucy Wagstaffe
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British airport offers customers the choice of a throw-away cup or a reusable one, in a bid to reduce plastic waste.


When packing for your next holiday, you might be considering what beachwear you want to bring or how many pairs of shoes you can squeeze into your suitcase, but would you make sure to pack your refillable cup for the pre-flight coffee? Our guess is that it’s not at the forefront of your packing planning. Thankfully, Starbucks and Hubbub have launched their first ever reusable cup trial with Gatwick airport as part of the #cupcupandaway campaign.

On June 10th, Starbucks and sustainability campaign charity Hubbub, started their one month ‘trial initiative’ to encourage fliers to drink from reusable cups. Once customers have finished their drink, they simply take the borrowed reusable cup to any of the 5 drop off points throughout Gatwick Airport's South Terminal for it to be returned. The scheme estimates that by putting 2,000 reusable cups into circulation, a staggering 7,000 paper coffee cups would not be needed as a result, if 250 customers a day choose to reuse.

Customers will have the option to choose a reusable cup or a paper cup and the collaboration hopes to inspire change by opposing our throw-away and single-use plastic culture.

Will you use a reusable or throw away cup?

Already, Gatwick Airport recycle 5.3 million of the 7 million cups used at the airport each year, but the recycling process can afford to go a step further in preventing excessive paper cup waste.

How to take part in this scheme:

  • At Starbucks you'll be offered the choice of a paper cup or a reusable cup
  • Cups can be returned before boarding at one of the 'Cup Check-In' stations or at the Starbucks shop
  • Gatwick's waste management team will then wash and sterilise the cups
  • Customers choosing a disposable cup will encounter a 5p charge
  • Sustainability Lead at Gatwick Airport, Rachel Thompson, commented:

“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."

So far this year, Gatwick Airport has managed to recycle and reuse 70% of waste and with this scheme hope to get a step closer towards zero waste. Fingers crossed that this trial is successful and as a result inspires other coffee shops to reduce on-the-go packaging.

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