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The coffee cup challenge

With the spring flowers coming into bloom in the Cotswolds 2018’s long steamy Summer days and cold dark evenings seem a distant memory but  there’s still one thing I am yet to share from 2018 – a challenge I tasked myself with.

Could I go through the whole of 2018 without using a disposable coffee cup? The short answer is no but it was very close!

I’m a self-proclaimed coffee snob and any opportunity I have I like to sample the wares of independent coffee shops wherever I may be. For me this is usually out on our guided Cotswolds tours when our customers are enjoying their free-time at Chipping Campden, Bourton-on-the-Water or Stow-on-the-Wold where you’ll often find me having a coffee somewhere. Thankfully we’ve finally learned how to do coffee well in the UK and with our increasing array of talented and enthusiastic baristas you’re never too far from a decent brew.

However, one thing that has become an increasing concern is the impact on the environment created by our enthusiasm for a cup of coffee through the rampant use of single use, non-recyclable takeaway coffee cups.

Our friends at – who are on crusade to clear up our beaches and go completely plastic free – have some simple, yet sobering stats:

  • Only one percent of single use coffee cups are recycled.
  • The UK throws away close to 2.5billion cups a year.

So if 99% aren’t recycled where are the other 2.475billion going?

It’s easy to pop your cup into a bin but it has to go somewhere and, if it’s not recycled, invariably it will end up in landfill. A sobering thought that, coupled with the negative impact we have on our planet as human beings in general, led me to wonder how I could make a difference, however small. Hence the challenge!

Ultimately I failed but, I hasten to add, I only used 2 disposable coffee cups across the whole of 2018! And I’m someone that has 6-8 coffees a week when I’m out and about.

Adopting my approach to the way I drink coffee easy and I strongly encourage everyone to do the same. I did it two ways; by drinking in or by using my own reusable coffee cup.

I prefer the former especially as it’s led me to get to know some great people in coffee shops across the Cotswolds. However, if I don’t have the time I make do with the latter which is why I always have my reusable coffee cup to hand.

The one I used last year wasn’t great – it spilled frequently and didn’t keep the heat in – so I invested in this this excellent Bottle Bottle reusable mug (see picture) having seen it recommended on It’s not plastics free but it certainly is reusable and IT KEEPS YOUR COFFEE HOT FOR AGES!!

It was a challenge for 2018 but it’s now a permanent change for both Lisa & I and although our effort to reject disposable coffee cups will only reduce the total quantity by a minor fraction if more people did the same then that staggering number will reduce. So give it a try – stop using disposable coffee cups!

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